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Rome, Utica eye projects with HUD funds

Nicole A. Hawley
Staff writer
email / twitter
Posted 5/27/22

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $615.6 million in grants to New York for Community Planning and Development activities...

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Rome, Utica eye projects with HUD funds

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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $615.6 million in grants to New York for Community Planning and Development activities, ranging from the development of affordable housing to expanding economic opportunities for people with low and moderate incomes.

Rome is projected to receive a total $990,882 in funding, while neighboring Utica will receive a total $3,370,144.

These grants are part of $6.3 billion to U.S. states, local entities of government, and U.S. territories through HUD’s Fiscal Year 2022 CPD Formula Grant Program.

“HUD’s CPD programs support local governments who depend on this federal funding to address economic development needs, lack of affordable housing, and homelessness,” said Alicka Ampry-Samuel, HUD regional administrator for New York and New Jersey. “These programs also enhance communities, aid local businesses, and provide funding for infrastructure maintenance like water and sewer systems. Most importantly, it is a vital resource for low and moderate-income residents who just need a hand up to support their families and improve their quality of life.”

A breakdown of New York’s grants and descriptions of eligible activities supported by these awards:

• $316 million — The Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate-income persons.

• $140 million — The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) provides funding to states and localities that communities use — often in partnership with local non-profit groups — to fund a wide range of activities including building, buying or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or home ownership, or providing direct rental assistance to low-income people.

• $80.2 million – Housing Trust Fund provides funding to produce affordable housing units.

• $28 million — Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) provides funds for homeless shelters, assists in the operation of local shelters and funds related social service and homeless prevention programs.

• $50.3 million - Housing Opportunities for Persons with HIV/AIDS (HOPWA) – Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) grants provides rental housing assistance and supportive services for persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

• CDBG CV-3 Reallocations – Jamestown — $194.8 million. CDBG Coronavirus (CV) Reallocations fund activities to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.

Rome is slated to receive the $990,882 through the Community Development Block Grant Program.

Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo explained that the CDBG is annual entitlement money — a system that has been in place for decades.

“Monies are spent on public service-type initiatives like Connected Community Schools, domestic violence, Artletics and Abraham House — they are just some places where we’ve invested funding,” said Izzo. “According to federal requirements, low to moderate income people should be served. If it’s an economic development project, you have to guarantee it creates a low to moderate income-based job.”

The mayor said much of the city falls within the criteria for CDBG funding, including southwest, central and east sections of Rome, which lie within the census tract of eligible sites.

Infrastructure work, complete reconstruction of streets and utilities in many of these areas, as well as large sidewalk replacement programs, also fall within the realm of CDBG-eligible projects, she said.

“As long as it improves neighborhoods — we can also do commercial facade improvements anywhere in the city, generally where 75% is paid by the city and 25% by the property owner,” Izzo added. “We help facilitate funding to improve exterior facades on buildings, and have done many of those throughout the city...We’ve also done direct grants to businesses creating low to moderate income jobs to help with operational expenses or if they need a certain piece of equipment.”

Utica is to receive $2.4 million in CDBG funding; $723,870 in HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding; and $218,656 in Emergency Solutions Grants.

“The city’s Department of Urban & Economic Development is crafting the city’s annual Action Plan for the 2022-23 program year. The city’s plan will include important initiatives such as addressing homelessness, affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and providing youth and senior services,” said Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri. “A draft of the annual plan will be available for public review and comment in the next few weeks.”

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