$1 million in federal community development grants brings Bloomington’s 30-year total to $28.9 million

At its regular Wednesday meeting this week, Bloomington’s city council approved annual allocations for a bit more than $1 million worth of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.

The exact amount was $1,017,968

That makes $28,921,325 of total CDBG funding that has been allocated to Bloomington since 1991.

Under federal guidelines, up to 15 percent of the funds can be used to fund social service programs.

This year Bloomington maxed out the 15 percent with the following social services funding allocations: Hoosier Hills Food Bank ($25,000), Broadview Learning Center ($2,700), Community Kitchen ($25,000), Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington ($25,000), New Leaf – New Life ($25,000), Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard ($25,000), Monroe County United Ministries ($25,000).

Physical improvement projects account for 65 percent of the funding allocations, and administration costs take up the remaining 20 percent.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, councilmember Susan Sandberg drew out the fact that it’s not a requirement that any of the CDBG funds be spent on social services.

Responding to a question from Sandberg, interim director of Bloomington’s housing and neighborhood development HAND department Brent Pierce described the federal guideline. “The HUD guideline is, in the event that you want to spend this on social services, you can’t spend any more than 15 percent of the allocation,” Pierce said.

Pierce added, “Bloomington wouldn’t have to spend $1 on social services. But we choose to, and we choose to spend the maximum percentage that we’re allowed to by federal law.”

Sandberg said Bloomington’s traditional approach, which is to spend the full 15-percent allowable on social services, is a “point of pride.”

Brent Pierce gave the presentation to the city council on the resolution that authorized the allocations.

Pierce ticked through the three objectives for CDBG funding: elimination of slum and blight; give benefit to low- and moderate-income households: and to address urgent needs.

The funds are awarded through an application process. Applications are reviewed and recommendations are made by a citizens advisory committee (CAC) made up of two city council members, two redevelopment commission members, and up to 18 community members appointed by the mayor.

The two city councilmembers who serve on the CAC are Kate Rosenbarger and Ron Smith.

The CAC recommendations were reviewed and approved by the redevelopment commission, Pierce said,

Pierce said that for this year’s round of funding, the COVID-19 pandemic was taken into consideration.

Volunteerism has decreased due to the pandemic, Pierce said, because people were not able to get out and donate their time to social services agencies. That has increased the need for CDBG funding, Pierce said.

Pierce added, “CDBG uniquely allows the city to fund salary and staff time, which helps to offset some of the decrease in volunteer hours due to COVID.”

2021 Funding Table

SOCIAL SERVICES PROGRAMS FUNDING ALLOCATION
Hoosier Hills Food Bank $25,000
Broadview Learning Center $2,700
Community Kitchen $25,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington $25,000
New Leaf – New Life $25,000
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard $25,000
Monroe County United Ministries $25,000
PHYSICAL IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAMS FUNDING ALLOCATION
Summit Hill Community Development Corp. Bloomington Housing
Authority – Crestmont Site Improvements
$150,000
Summit Hill Community Development Corp. Bloomington Housing
Authority – Accessibility Upgrades
$50,000
Monroe County United Ministries – Security Cameras $27,727
New Hope for Families – Playgrounds for Childcare Facility $190,151
LIFEDesigns – Winslow and Dunn Group Homes Renovation $39,911
Centerstone – 635 S. Rogers St. Hoosier House Exterior Work $53,000
Middle Way House – Upgrade and add cameras to security system $12,000
LIFEDesigns – Tankless water heater for Housing Options 1 $31,110
Monroe County United Ministries – Carpet and Paint for Digital
Resource Center
$2,019
New Hope for Families – Landscaping for new building site $25,750
Centerstone – 416 W. 1st St. – bring wiring up to code, new HVAC $40,000
City of Bloomington, Utilities – Evergreen Village Drainage
Improvements
$40,000
Administration of HAND $203,600

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