“Community Development Block Grant has been an important resource for local governments such as the County of Santa Clara to tackle housing challenges facing the communities,” said Supervisor George Shirakawa, Chair of the Housing and Community Development Advisory Committee which oversees the CDBG and HOME federal grants. “In a difficult economic time, it is crucial for local governments to work together to provide the services that our communities need.”
Since 1975, the County of Santa Clara has joined with the County’s smaller cities and towns to achieve a population of more than 200,000 in order to qualify as an Urban County to receive the Community Development Block Grant provided by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
During the past 36 years, the Urban County has received more than $120 million of federal funds to assist in the development of new affordable housing, provide a variety of housing related services, and improve accessibility of public facilities to benefit the disabled population. In recent years, the annual Community Development Block Grant that the County of Santa Clara receives has decreased steadily from a high of over $5.4 million a year to $1,585,095 this year.
The renewal of the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement this year will bring changes in the funding and application process.
“We’ve made major changes to our Housing and Community Development Program to reduce cost for the County and the non-profits,” said Marjorie Matthews, Director of the County Office of Affordable Housing. “We are shifting all our CDBG and HOME grants to a web-based system which will save time, money, and paper for all. Also, we will use a single funding process rather than separate processes in each of the participating jurisdictions.”
The County will issue a Request for Proposals in November 2011. Cities will be able to apply for up to two projects each year. The minimum grant size to community based organizations will be to $10,000. Community organizations are encouraged to collaborate with one another to submit joint applications.
In April 2011, the County Office of Affordable Housing began implementation of the web-based system. For the next funding cycle, all applications, evaluations, contracts, payment requests, and reporting will be managed electronically. For more information, go to: www.sccgov.org/portal/site/oah/.