Creation of the CDBG ProgramThe Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) was created by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 as amended(42 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) The CDBG Program was the distillation of several former categorical grants that were administered by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Under the Act, the funding was divided into two categories:
1. Metro or Entitlement - Metropolitan cities having a population of at least 50,000 persons or counties (designated Urban Counties) that had an aggregate participating population of 200,000 or more. Westmoreland County has been designated as an Urban County since the inception of the program.
2. Small Cities - Cities that are not metropolitan cities that meet certain criteria and are not participating in an Urban County CDBG Program. In Pennsylvania, the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) administers the Small Cities Program. In Westmoreland County, there are five municipalities that have, by HUD definition, "Opted-Out" of the Westmoreland County CDBG Entitlement Program. These municipalities are:
CDBG Appropriation FormulaThe annual CDBG Appropriation is allocated to each entitlement predicated upon a formula which works, basically, as follows: There are three criteria for distribution of funds:
Each CDBG Entitlement Program has a designated program year. The program year for the Westmoreland County CDBG Entitlement Program begins May 1st and ends April 30th of the following calendar year. The CDBG yearly Annual Plan is submitted in mid-March to HUD. The Annual Plan is a reflection of a yearly program to meet the needs designated in the Five (5) Year Consolidated Plan.
Ineligible ActivitiesGenerally, almost any type of community development activity is eligible under the CDBG Program. As a general rule the following activities are ineligible:
HUD ExaminationAfter the CDBG Annual Plan is submitted to HUD it is subject to examination by HUD to determine whether the activities programmed are appropriate because of the nature and severity of the needs of low and moderate income persons in relation to general needs of the community. HUD has placed the responsibility on Westmoreland County for ensuring that each activity carried out with CDBG funds is eligible and meets the required statutory requirements.
Not less than 70 percent of the CDBG assistance expended during a program year shall be used for activities that benefit low and moderate income persons. This is a statutory requirement and a violation of this requirement could lead HUD to make a determination that the grantee does not have sufficient administrative capacity to operate a CDBG Program. Not more than 20 percent of CDBG assistance received can be utilized for the administrative costs of the program.
An Economic Development ToolSince the inception of the program, the Westmoreland County CDBG Entitlement Program has distributed more than $100 million in assistance to the citizens of the county in the form of public works, recreation, acquisition, housing, homeless assistance, economic development, assistance to human service providers, redevelopment projects, demolition and a range of other activities. The Westmoreland County CDBG Entitlement Program has been a dynamic tool in the social and economic development of the county.