By Michael Wallace
Members of Congress and local government groups have showed their support for greater funding for the Community Development Block Grant program by adding their names to several letters to the House and Senate Appropriations Committee in advance of consideration of the HUD budget for Fiscal Year 2014. In the House, a bipartisan group of 144 Representatives lead by Robert A. Brady (D-PA), Lou Barletta (R-PA), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Peter T. King (R-NY), Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), and Chris Gibson (R-NY) urged House appropriators to fund CDBG at $3.3 billion in fiscal year 2014. In the letter, the Representatives call CDBG " one of the most effective federal programs for growing the local economy and providing a lifeline for families and communities, with proven results."
In the Senate, Patrick Leahy (D-VT) circulated a similar letter urging $3.3 billion for CDBG that gathered 39 signatures. In that letter, the Senators cited CDBG results over the last six years, including assistance for more than 865,000 households and the creation and retention of more than 259,000 jobs. By contrast, the President's budget for FY2014 recommended a slight decrease for CDBG to $2.8 billion.
In another letter, NLC and local government and housing groups urged Senate appropriators to reject the President's funding proposal for CDBG and instead follow their colleague's recommendation of $3.3 billion.
Lastly, in an effort to bolster a potential funding increase for CDBG and other housing and transportation programs important to cities and towns, NLC is again participating in a large effort encompassing housing and transportation interest groups to increase the overall pot of federal funding available for the Departments of Housing and Transportation.
The amount of funding in that pot, called the "302b allocation", will largely determine whether funding increases are even possible for these programs as early as May. To date, over 2000 federal, state, and local groups, including cities and towns, have added their names to the Transportation-HUD 302b letter. Local leaders can read the letter and add their city to the list of supporters by visiting: https://nlihc.wufoo.com/forms/sign-on-increase-thud-funding/.