Just before the Labor Day weekend, Governor Brian Kemp announced 59 different Georgia communities will receive a total of $41 million in federal funding to help assist and grow their economies. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is administered by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.
“These communities understand the importance of how these funds can enhance and improve the quality of life for residents across the state,” Kemp said. “When communities are revitalized, their citizens are as well. The CDBG program continues to elevate Georgia’s prominence as a great place to live, work and raise a family.”
The funding will go towards a number of different projects, including $38 million in infrastructure projects and nearly $3 million for the Employment Incentive Program and the Redevelopment Fund. Projects are chosen through a competitive grant program and priority is given to those projects that create jobs or assist those with low or moderate incomes. Many of Georgia’s rural areas are frequent recipients of the block grants and that continues this year.
Most of the grants are at or below the maximum $750,000 for a single project. These projects require 5% local matching funds. Projects at or below $300,000 require no local matching funds. The tiny community of Camak in Warren County, with a population of somewhere below 150, received $577,000 for sewer improvements. This project will benefit 32 persons, 24 of whom are low to moderate income.
Monroe County was awarded $750,000 for the renovation of its health center and the County Health Department. This project is projected to benefit nearly 4,000 people, 98% of which are low to moderate income.
Byron, Georgia – with a population of approximately 5,000 – will receive just under $750,000 to revitalize neighborhoods along several roads. This revitalization includes clearance of dilapidated housing, housing rehabilitation and housing reconstruction. This project is one which shows the “impact” designation can be a difficult number to peg. Only 83 are projected to benefit, but improving neighborhoods can have much further reaching effects.
The City of Perry is undertaking a similar neighborhood project, receiving nearly one million for a “multi-activity” project. Multi-activity projects are eligible for up to one million, as opposed to the $750,000 for a single use. Perry will be doing street improvements, drainage improvements and housing rehabilitation that is expected to benefit 124 people – again, likely a larger number in the long run.
“I look forward to recognizing these outstanding communities at our annual Fall Conference,” said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn. “The CDBG recipients embody careful planning, hard work, and dedication to improving their communities.”
The Trump administration had previously considered eliminating the CBDG program but pushback from Congress won the argument over the funding.
The full project list and brief descriptions are available here.