WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter are urging the Obama administration to fully fund the Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) program in President’s upcoming budget.
“This program creates jobs, provides economic opportunity and makes Philadelphia’s communities safer,” said Senator Casey. “Fully funding the Community Development Block Grant program is a smart investment. I will fight to ensure that it can continue to spur economic development and create jobs in Pennsylvania.”
“CDBG is a vital tool for creating jobs and improving neighborhoods,” said Mayor Nutter. “As Mayor of Philadelphia and Vice Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I can attest to its importance. I hope that the President will fully fund this important program.”
The CDBG program has been a critical resource for efforts to rebuild and revitalize Pennsylvania communities, with a focus on communities that have faced significant challenges due to the recent recession.
Over the past two years, CDBG funding has been cut by 25 percent. Additional cuts to the program would hinder economic revitalization efforts and result in a loss of jobs.
In a letter to President Obama’s Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Senator Casey and Mayor Nutter point to the recent successes of the CDBG program in Philadelphia, including:
The creation of more than 8,000 construction jobs in conjunction with the HOME program through the production of affordable housing units;
The creation of economic opportunity by providing job training to 3,900 people;
The prevention of over 4,000 foreclosures through housing counseling; and
The improved security and health of neighborhoods through cleaning and greening of vacant properties, which reduces crime and increases surrounding property values.
The full text of their letter is below:
The Honorable Jeffrey Zients
The Office of Management and Budget
Dear Mr. Zients:
We write to urge the Administration to include full funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program in the President’s upcoming fiscal year 2013 budget.
The CDBG program is crucial to efforts to rebuild and revitalize communities by generating long-term job growth and economic stability. This funding directly impacts local communities in Pennsylvania that have faced significant challenges due to the recent economic crisis. Additional cuts to the program will hamper economic revitalization efforts already underway and result in layoffs. The Administration’s support is crucial to ensuring that CDBG sufficiently funded in the next fiscal year.
Over the past two years, CDBG funding has been reduced by 25 percent. Cities across the country, including Philadelphia, are bearing the brunt of these cuts. Further reduction of funding will detrimentally impact communities that that rely on CDBG to address their most pressing needs and serve their most vulnerable residents.
In Philadelphia, CDBG funding:
- Supports the production of new affordable homes for rent and for homeownership. Over the past three fiscal years, CDBG, along with HOME funding that is facing its own reduction of 38 percent, has supported the production of 1,034 affordable rental units and 325 affordable homeownership units. More than 8,000 construction workers were employed to build these developments.
- Prevents foreclosures. Since June 2008, more than 4,000 homeowners have been saved from foreclosure through housing counseling funded by CDBG.
- Provides home repairs for low-income households, especially senior citizens. CDBG funds the City’s Basic Systems Repair Program, which keeps homeowners in their homes by repairing roofs, electrical, plumbing and heating systems. Nearly all of the recipients are very low- or low-income, and almost half are seniors or disabled. Over the past three fiscal years, 7,458 homes have been repaired through contracts with 77 small businesses.
- Creates economic opportunity. CDBG funds provide business assistance, revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors and support job training. Over the past three fiscal years, 1,189 jobs were created and 3,901 people received job training.
- Supports vacant land management. CDBG funds support the cleaning and greening of vacant lots, which academic studies have found reduce violent crime, increase surrounding property values, and improve resident health.
- Leverages private investment. Over the past three years, CDBG and HOME funds have leveraged $150 million in non-government funding to build the developments noted above. This is twice the amount of federal funding invested in these projects.
CDBG is a smart investment. We have both witnessed how efficiently cities and municipalities nationwide use this funding to spur economic development and create jobs. As you finalize the President’s FY 2013 budget, we are calling on the Administration to provide robust funding for the CDBG program. Thank your attention to this matter.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator
Mayor of Philadelphia and Vice-President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors