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Homes and Community Renewal

Program Guidelines

Overview: Working in Partnership with Local Governments to Build a Brighter Future

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is a federally funded program authorized by Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. The Office of Community Renewal is New York State's administrative agency for the CDBG Program. The CDBG Program provides grants to smaller communities in order to: ensure decent, affordable housing for all; provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities; create jobs and expand business opportunities for implementing a variety of community and economic development activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization and economic development; and to provide improved community facilities and services. Under the CDBG Program, approximately $40 million of funding is available annually to eligible communities within New York State.

The New York CDBG Program provides community development grants to towns, villages, and cities with a population less than 50,000 and counties with an unincorporated population less than 200,000. The CDBG Program provides smaller communities with the opportunity to make local decisions concerning community development without duly increasing the local tax burden of their citizens. Please visit our Eligible Communities page to see if your community is currently eligible for New York CDBG funding.

Communities are encouraged to contact the Office of Community Renewal as early as possible to discuss the viability of potential projects.

Objectives of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

As set forth in the Federal Housing and Community Development Act, the Primary Objective of the CDBG program is, "the development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income." Under the Act, CDBG funds are intended for the support of community development activities that are directed toward the following specific objectives:

  1. The elimination of slums and blight and the prevention of blighting influences and the deterioration of property and neighborhood and community facilities of importance to the welfare of the community, principally persons of low and moderate income.
  2. The elimination of conditions which are detrimental to health, safety and public welfare, through code enforcement, demolition, interim rehabilitation assistance and related activities.
  3. The conservation and expansion of the nation's housing stock in order to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for all persons, but principally those of low and moderate income.
  4. The expansion and improvement of the quantity and the quality of community services, principally for persons of low and moderate income, which are essential for sound community development and for the development of viable urban communities.
  5. A more rational utilization of land and other natural resources, and the better arrangement of residential, commercial, industrial, recreational and other needed activity centers.
  6. The reduction of the isolation of income groups within communities and geographical areas and the promotion of an increase in the diversity and vitality of neighborhoods through the spatial de-concentration of housing opportunities for persons of lower income and the revitalization of deteriorating or deteriorated neighborhoods.
  7. The restoration and preservation of properties of special value for historic, architectural or aesthetic reasons.
  8. The alleviation of physical and economic distress through the stimulation of private investment and community revitalization in areas without population migration or a stagnating or declining tax base.
  9. The conservation of the nation's scarce energy resources, improvement of energy efficiency, and the provision of alternative and renewable energy sources of supply.

Objectives of the New York State CDBG Program

Financial assistance will be provided for the development of projects that meet the NYS CDBG Program Objectives and that provide decent, safe affordable housing, access to clean drinking water, proper disposal of household wastewater, access to local public facilities, and economic opportunities for persons from LMI families by supporting development projects that are designed to create or retain employment opportunities.

In support of New York's community development goals, the NYS CDBG Program will:

  1. Support a mix of rehabilitation and conversion activities to preserve and increase affordable housing, for both renters and homeowners;
  2. Encourage investment in communities by assisting local governments in devising and implementing economic development strategies to revitalize viable communities and provide economic opportunities that principally benefit LMI persons;
  3. Revitalize the vibrancy of New York's communities and enhance the quality of life;
  4. Develop and implement strategies that facilitate the coordination of NYS CDBG funding with other Federal, State, and local community development resources.

Outline

Available Funds

New York State received an annual allocation of funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). New York State intends to allocate these funds to eligible non-entitlement grant recipients according to the following categories: Community Development Funding, Economic Development Assistance, Imminent Threat, Program Administration, and Technical Assistance and Capacity Building. Actual allocation percentages are dependent upon the number of applications received in any given year.

Eligible Applicants

Cities, towns, and villages located in non-entitlement areas with a population under 50,000 and counties with an unincorporated population of 200,000 are eligible to apply for CDBG funding through the Office of Community Renewal. Eligible applicants must be in substantial compliance with all applicable State and Federal laws, regulations, and Executive Orders that pertain to the CDBG Program.

Types of Applications

New York State's CDBG Program is divided into two primary components: Community Development Funding and Economic Development Assistance and two secondary components: Imminent Threat and Technical Assistance and Capacity Building.

Applicants applying for Community Development Funding must address and resolve specific community development needs within the areas of Housing, Public Infrastructure, or Public Facilities. Applications for Economic Development activities must support business creation, expansion or retention.

In 2011, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a comprehensive strategy to transform New York State by aligning agency resources to further the State's economic recovery and to support new economic development opportunities. To coordinate and streamline these extraordinary economic development opportunities in each region of the State, Governor Cuomo created ten Regional Economic Development Councils (Regional Councils) that are comprised of local experts and stakeholders who know their regions best.

The grant application process for New York State's various economic development agencies has been streamlined as a result of the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). The CFA enables municipalities, businesses and other entities to apply to multiple agency funding sources through a single, web-based application.

In addition to HCR, multiple state agencies and authorities have pooled together resources to be made available through the CFA. HCR has dedicated up to $41.2 million in resources to economic development and community revitalization projects through the CFA. Homes and Community Renewal has announced available funding from four (4) Office of Community Renewal programs, including: Urban Initiatives, Rural Area Revitalization Projects, New York Main Street, and the Community Development Block Grant categories of Economic Development, Small Business Assistance, Public Infrastructure, and Public Facilities. Each program is a competitive process with applications accepted through New York State's Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).

Applicants seeking funding for public infrastructure, public facilities and economic development activities should apply for assistance through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application available from http://nyworks.ny.gov.

Applicants seeking assistance for CDBG housing activities including housing rehabilitation, homeownership, and private water/wastewater activities should apply for funding under the 2012 Housing Application process. In order to apply for the following programs, please visit the Housing Resources Funding Opportunities page, http://www.nyshcr.org/AboutUs/Offices/CommunityRenewal/HousingResourcesFundingOpportunities.htm.

In addition to the above, the Office of Community Renewal will entertain additional inquiries for applications related to Imminent Threat, and Technical Assistance and Capacity Building. If an application in either of these categories is being considered, Applicants must first contact the Office of Community Renewal to determine eligibility and potential application requirements.

Joint and County on behalf of Applications

Under New York State's CDBG Program, two or more eligible applicants facing a common problem may submit a joint application. In order to qualify, local governments must not only share a common problem, but must also be able to demonstrate that a joint effort is required to solve the problem. With the exception of housing applications, joint applications submitted only for administrative convenience are not accepted.

Counties may apply on behalf of units of general local government located within their jurisdiction when the unit of general local government has authorized the county to apply. The unit of general local government will be considered the applicant for determining grant limits, and its statistics will be used for purpose of the selection factors.

Maximum Grant Amounts

Community Development Funding Limits:

                                                                                   

Public Infrastructure     Maximum
Counties, Towns, Cities or Villages   $750,000
Joint Applicants      $900,000
*With NYS Co-Funding Initiative     $1,000,000
   
Public Facilities  
Counties, Towns, Cities or Villages     $300,000
   
Housing  
Towns, Cities, or Villages      $500,000
Counties $850,000
   
Microenterprise  
Counties, Towns, Cities or Villages $200,000
   
Planning  
Counties, Towns, Cities or Villages   $50,000

*For certain “co-funded” Public Infrastructure projects, applicants may apply for an amount of funding not to exceed $1,000,000. “Co-funded” projects are those projects that include other State and/or Federal sources including, but not limited to, USDA Rural Development and/or the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC). In order to qualify for this higher funding threshold, the applicant must clearly demonstrate that other co-funded sources are firmly committed and in place at the time of application. Qualifying documentation includes:

All qualifying documentation must be submitted as an attachment to the funding application and is subject to review and approval by the OCR.
Beginning in 2017, eligible costs for water, sewer, or storm water projects only, may include predevelopment costs necessary to complete the environmental review process required for all CDBG projects under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). These expenses may include, but are not limited to:

Pre-development costs incurred up to 12 months prior to grant award may be included as part of the project budget. Eligible costs must still meet all CDBG rules and regulations including federal procurement and civil rights requirements, and must be in compliance with 2CFR 200. Please contact OCR prior to considering incorporating pre-award costs into the project budget to ensure that those costs are eligible.

 

 

Economic Development

Economic Development program
(Assistance to a business or public infrastructure projects in support of a business)

$750,000 (minimum of $100,000)

Small Business Assistance program
(Award range for grant assistance in support of an individual business)


$100,000 (minimum of $25,000)

Eligible Activities

The activities eligible under the CDBG Program are identified in Section 105(a) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended and 24 CFR 570.482, as amended.

Primary and National Objectives

All CDBG projects are required to meet the two program goals - the primary and national objectives. The primary objective of the CDBG program is to develop viable communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment by expanding economic opportunities, principally for persons of low and moderate income. To achieve this primary objective, New York State must ensure that at least 70 percent of its grant funds are used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons.

In addition to meeting the primary objective, applicants must also meet one of the three National Objectives: benefit low- and moderate-income persons, prevent or eliminate slums and blight, or address an urgent community development need. All applicants must maintain data to demonstrate that the project is meeting one of the above listed objectives.

Types of Grants

Housing

There are three types of housing projects eligible for NYS CDBG funding: housing rehabilitation, direct homeownership assistance, and private water/wastewater system assistance. The primary goal of any housing project is to increase the supply of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents. Through a needs analysis and detailed survey of income and housing conditions, each applicant will be able to determine the most suitable approach for addressing these goals.

  1. Housing Rehabilitation

    Many of New York State's communities are concerned with high rates of substandard housing that are difficult to reduce because of homeowners' inability to address costly repairs. In order to make an application competitive, a community should conduct two types of surveys: a housing conditions survey to determine the location and severity of the substandard conditions of housing, and an income survey to identify applicants who are income eligible and willing to participate. When conducting the housing conditions survey, Applicants should adhere to the Office of Community Renewal's definition of substandard housing as stated in the CDBG Application Guidance.

    The CDBG program is highly flexible, allowing for communities to develop an approach to rehabilitation that best suits their needs. The following are examples of program designs:

    • Direct financial assistance as a grant or loan or a combination thereof.
    • A target area approach for substandard housing located in a defined geographic area.
    • A non-target area approach for substandard housing on scattered sites.
    • A focus on a certain income categories (i.e. below 50% of the median income).
    • Selection criteria based on severity of need or first come, first serve approach.
    • Rehabilitation can be for owner-occupied, renter occupied, or vacant units to be occupied by low- and moderate-income persons.

    All of the above are examples of the ways in which a community can address their substandard housing conditions. Programs designed to conduct housing rehabilitation activities that provide safe and habitable housing primarily for low-and moderate-income households at standards of quality meeting New York State building codes and federal and local regulations are strongly encouraged.

  2. Homeownership

    In addition to housing rehabilitation needs, communities may have homeownership needs that could be addressed through a homeownership assistance program. Such a program would provide financial assistance to low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers for the purchase of homes for sale. As with the Rehabilitation activities, the program is designed to be flexible so communities can determine the appropriate means of assistance. Activities that are commonly found in homeownership programs include the following:

    • Direct financial assistance including down payment assistance and closing costs
    • Counseling of prospective homeowners to ensure applicants have an understanding of program obligations, budgeting, and overhead costs.
    • Minor rehabilitation of certain houses that are otherwise structurally sound.
    • A successful homeownership application will include: information on the manner in which the program will be marketed to potential applicants; a list of potential eligible applicants to document the market and need; real estate data including average cost of homes and number of homes available within the price range; and evidence that the amount available
  3. Private Water/Wastewater System Assistance

    Providing safe drinking water and wastewater systems to individual property owners falls under the category of housing, as these types of assistance provide a direct benefit to those receiving funding. Direct assistance activities can include drilling of private wells, construction or rehabilitation of septic systems, and installation of lateral connections to low- and moderate-income households from the public water/sewer mains. Applications for funding of lateral connections can be stand-alone projects or can be part of a larger public infrastructure project. However, in order for a community to construct the laterals out of CDBG funds, the homeowners must be low- and moderate-income.

    Successful applications for private water/wastewater systems will include evidence that property owners are eligible and willing to participate in the program, information as to how the program will be marketed, and information on the level of subsidy and type of subsidy (loan or grant).

Public Facilities and Public Infrastructure

Communities throughout New York are faced with a variety of issues that affect public health, safety, and welfare. Through the CDBG public facilities grants, many of these issues can be addressed. At least 51% of the persons benefiting from these activities must qualify as low- and moderate-income, as determined by the U.S. Census or an income survey. In general, public facilities projects fall into two categories: public infrastructure and public service facilities.

Public Infrastructure

Public Infrastructure includes activities consisting of, but not limited to, water source development, storage, and distribution; sanitary sewage collection and treatment; flood control and storm water drainage. Eligible projects may include the repair or replacement of existing systems, construction of new systems, or expansion of existing systems into areas previously unserved that are in compliance with the NYS Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Act (Chapter 433 of the Laws of 2010). Applications requesting funding solely for residential water and sewer lateral connections are considered for funding under the Housing Funding Category. However, applicants may seek funding for lateral connections under the public infrastructure category as long as the activity is incidental to a larger public infrastructure project.

For projects that require funding above the maximum funding level available from the Office of Community Renewal, the applicant must find additional sources of funding and provide evidence that funding is committed to the project. For additional information on other sources of information, applicants may contact the New York Co-Funding Initiative.

Public Facilities

Public facility activities include, but are not limited to, funding for: structures to house or serve special-needs populations; senior services; child care centers; removal of architectural barriers for the disabled (installing lifts, automatic doors, ramps, etc.); and multi-purpose buildings housing several qualifying activities for low- and moderate-income persons. NYS CDBG funds can be used for construction or renovation of facilities, but cannot be used to cover the day-to-day operational costs, nor can funds be used for buildings that are primarily for the general conduct of government business (i.e. town halls). Any public facility funded with NYS CDBG funds must be maintained in the same capacity as funded for a period of five (5) years after the project is formally closed out by OCR. OCR reserves the right to inspect such facilities during the five (5) year period to substantiate compliance. Grant funds may also be used for standalone public works activities such as sidewalks, streets, parking, open space, and publicly owned utilities. Eligible projects may include the repair or replacement of existing systems, construction of new systems, or expansion of existing systems into areas previously unserved that are in compliance with the NYS Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Act (Chapter 433 of the Laws of 2010).

For projects that require funding above the maximum funding level available from the Office of Community Renewal, the applicant must find additional sources of funding and provide evidence that funding is committed to the project.

Economic Development

The Office of Community Renewal recognizes that New York's smaller communities must have an economy that encourages business development and promotes jobs for low- and moderate-income persons. Through the Economic Development Program, the Office of Community Renewal provides grants to communities that wish to sponsor economic development activities that create or retain jobs for low- and moderate-income persons. The goal of the program is to fund projects that result in high quality, full-time jobs that are well paying and provide benefits and training to low- and moderate-income persons.

The NYS CDBG Economic Development program consists of two funding activities: Economic Development and Small Business Assistance. Eligible applicants must apply on behalf of the business seeking CDBG funds. Awards are made to the applicant community and not directly to businesses. Economic development funds are flexible and can be used for most legitimate business purposes. Eligible uses of NYS CDBG Economic Development funds include, but are not limited to: acquisition of real property; financing of machinery, furniture, fixtures and equipment; building construction and renovation; working capital; inventory; and employee training expenses. Funds awarded under the NYS CDBG Small Business program may not be used for new construction activity.

Economic Development

Funding is provided for traditional economic development activities such as business attraction, expansion, and retention projects to provide financial assistance to for-profit businesses for an identified CDBG eligible activity. The project must result in the creation or retention of permanent job opportunities principally benefitting low- and moderate-income persons.

Small Business Assistance

Funding is provided to eligible communities to foster small business development and growth. For the purposes of the Small Business Assistance program, a small business is defined as a commercial enterprise with twenty five (25) or fewer full-time equivalent employees at the time of application.

For additional information on the Economic Development Program, see the Economic Development Program Guidelines, or contact the Office of Community Renewal.


Section 108

Section 108 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program as an extension of the CDBG program to provide communities with a source of financing for community and economic development projects that are frequently too large for financing by annual grants. Under the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program, HUD guarantees notes issued by entitlement and non-entitlement communities assisted by States that administer the CDBG Program. Interested eligible applicants should contact the Office of Community Renewal for further information concerning this program.

Last Updated: 06/26/12