CDBG and HOME Investment Partnerships Program are in Serious Jeopardy

by Bruce Spitzengel, Grantworks

The State-administered federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) are in serious jeopardy based on the President’s budget proposal. Our federal political leaders may not be aware of the significant impact that these programs have on rural Texas, helping to improve infrastructure and housing for citizens. Cities and unincorporated communities throughout the state used these funds to great advantage for 30+ years and the loss of CDBG and HOME would have significant negative impact on rural Texas.

CDBG funds are often used to make necessary utility improvements; without these funds many communities will find it nearly impossible to rehabilitate their water and sewer systems, without forcing residents to pay higher property taxes and utility rates. Adequate utilities are required by state and federal law, and non-compliance can lead to severe fines for a community.

HOME has been a resource for homeowners across Texas with severely limited incomes who are unable to properly maintain their homes. HOME funding allows seniors to age in place rather than relocating to federally subsidized nursing homes. The cost of subsidized nursing home care over time can result in greater federal expenditures over the cost of providing a decent, safe and sanitary house in their hometown.

Taking an active role in supporting CDBG and HOME means contacting your local Congressperson and telling them just how important CDBG and HOME are to their constituents. You can write letters, adopt resolutions, meet with your Congressperson, and provide press releases about CDBG and HOME benefits to your local newspaper. It is important to get the word out about saving CDBG and HOME to our leaders and also to the public who will have to foot-the-bill when utility improvements are mandated or fines are levied on their communities. We cannot take these successful programs for granted.