We, the undersigned national, state, and local organizations, write to express our support for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) and urge Congress to appropriate at least $3.3 billion in formula funding for CDBG in FY 2018. For over 40 years, CDBG has served as the cornerstone of the federal government's commitment to partnering with state and local governments to strengthen our nation's communities and improve the quality of life for low- and moderate-income Americans. Every State, Territory, and Congressional district receives or has access to CDBG funds. CDBG provides crucial funding for economic development projects, public improvements, public services and affordable housing. It remains the principal source of federal revenue for states and localities and their program partners to use in developing and implementing flexible community development solutions.
CDBG plays a vital role in attracting significant investment in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. For every $1.00 of CDBG funding another $4.10 in private and public funding is leveraged. According to HUD, since FY 2005, the CDBG program has assisted over 1.3 million low- and moderate-income homeowners rehabilitate their homes, provided down payment and closing cost assistance to qualified home buyers, and assisted homeowners with lead-based paint abatement. Moreover, since FY 2005, CDBG-funded public improvements directly benefitted over 42 million low- and moderate-income people nationwide and CDBG-funded public services assisted over 133 million low- and moderate-income persons nationwide. Additionally, CDBG is a jobs generator. Since FY 2005, the program has created/retained more than 387,000 economic development related jobs.
Unfortunately, CDBG funding has been cut by $1.4 billion since FY 2001, from $4.4 billion in FY 2001 to $3.0 billion in FY 2017; resulting in unmet need, staff reductions, and delayed and cancelled projects. A survey conducted by the CDBG Coalition found that the cuts to CDBG have reduced the number of small businesses assisted, provided less funding for seniors (e.g., food assistance, housing rehabilitation assistance to allow seniors to age in place, and capital improvements to senior centers), cut programs to our nation's veterans (e.g., housing, services, employment/job training), and canceled and delayed public improvements. Further, the survey found that CDBG grantees annually receive far more applications for funding than can be met with their current CDBG allocation; with most estimating that over half of the CDBG annual funding requests received are not funded.
CDBG is a proven program that assists millions of low- and moderate-income households each year and provides access to funding in every Congressional district. We urge you to support the program and assist grantees and their program partners work towards meeting the surmounting community development and affordable needs in their communities by appropriating no less than $3.3 billion for CDBG in FY18.