Following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech - in which he focused on federal efforts to stimulate the nation’s economy and protect the nation’s safety net for middle class families - Franklin County’s Board of Commissioners is receiving official word on nearly $2.6 million in federal funding to aid low-income families, offer affordable housing, and provide homelessness assistance.
In the letter from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Franklin County will receive an unexpected boost in funds through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, in which commissioners initially expected to see a 12 percent cut from last year. Instead, Franklin County will receive a 9 percent increase.
“During these tight fiscal times, we appreciate President Obama’s ongoing commitment to funding critical programs which offer a safety net for our county’s low income families and create opportunities for job retention,” said Board President Paula Brooks. “As a result, the funds will allow the County to serve more than 1,900 families and impact approximately 750 jobs in the community.”
Funding for emergency shelter grants (renamed Emergency Solutions Grants) also received a welcome boost, with the County now expecting to receive a total of $143,540, a nearly 80 percent increase than what had been initially expected.
“Thanks to these dollars, our emergency shelter program can continue to offer operating support to the network of shelters that serve our county’s homeless populations,” added Commissioner Marilyn Brown. “Through our partnership with the Community Shelter Board, we will be able to offer comfort and safety to families, women with children, run-away youth, and single men.”
Some funding was still cut but not as deep. Across the country, the federal HOME Investment Partnerships program - aimed at building or rehabilitating affordable housing – saw a 38-percent cut in funding. Franklin County’s cut will only be 23 percent.
“The County fared better in its allocations compared to the rest of the nation due to the fact that this is the first year that allocations are based in part on the findings of the 2010 census,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “The primary factors in the census that increased the program allocations were Franklin County’s 22 percent increase in population and unfortunately our 26.6 percent increase in poverty.”
- The breakdown of these federal funds though the Office of Community Planning and Development are:
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) $1,804,831 (anticipated $1,465, 275) HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) $648,730 (anticipated $322,480)
- Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) $143,540 (anticipated $80,176)
Additional details on how these funds will be used to redevelop neighborhoods, create affordable housing initiatives and stimulate economic development .