The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 23, 2012

CDBG prepares for its next fiscal year

HOPE Center shifts school funds to rental assistance

EDMOND — The Edmond Community Development Block Grant is working with less for the third straight year after figuring its allocation for the 2012-13 fiscal year allocation budget summary.

CDBG has $365,820 allocated, about $4,000 less than last year’s $369,727 and about $75,000 less than 2010’s $441,340. The CDBG works to develop city residents and neighborhoods by using federal funds.

Although community developers have less federal money coming in this year, CDBG had $100,000 leftover from the previous year, said manager Shannon Entz. That means community developers have $465,820 to distribute throughout Edmond, Entz said. The previous budget was $419,727.

Much of the funding remains the same as the previous year, but Housing and Rehabilitation Administration is getting about $57,000 more in funding than in 2011, putting $260,920 out to 10 beneficiaries listed on the budget.

“We still have a long waiting list of families that have requested assistance,” Entz said.

But Entz said emergency rehabilitation projects come up every year.

“What we’ve really tried to do now is emphasize emergency items in the homes such as roofs, electric, plumbing leaks and handicap accessibility,” Entz said. “And get away from doing more aesthetic things like carpet and other things — unless it’s necessarily needed.”

Many homes in Edmond are older and are in need of large renovations such as roof and foundation repairs, Entz added.

“We have a lot of old homes in Edmond from the farming days,” said Terry Severson, a CDBG committee member.

Entz said $10,000 also was cut from the home buyer assistance program resulting in only three people receiving assistance this year instead of five because of budget reduction.

Those receiving assistance are from Legacy Station homes off Broadway, built by Edmond’s Turning Point Ministries.

“We promised as a partner in that project several years ago that we would assist the homeowners if they needed it,” Entz said.

Community Development also cut the Edmond HOPE Center’s $9,000 back to school program, which helped about a thousand children get school supplies, and moved that money to the HOPE Center’s rental assistance program. This was requested by the center, Entz said.

“They wanted that $9,000 to go towards the new rental assistance program, which is gong gangbusters,” she said. “It has been highly successful.”

That doubles rental assistance funds to $18,000 and is expected to help 100 families make rent when facing eviction. HOPE Center Executive Director Chris Sperry said the decision was made because many duplicate school funding programs exist and because the center’s budget is tighter.

“I’ve spoken with principals that said they would rather kids come to school with a good night’s sleep and food in their stomachs,” Sperry said. “They said they can always come up with a few extra crayons.”

She added that many families seeking rental assistance have children in school.

“School supplies are important, but I think it’s more important that those kids have places to live,” she said.

The center still works with school counselors to help students in need.

Sperry said the rental assistance program is an emergency-based service. Those applying can only receive assistance once and are often unemployed, are facing eviction and may end up homeless without the funding.

Entz said the CDBG budget will be part of the group’s larger action plan. It will be presented to the Edmond City Council for approval. From there the plan goes to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for final approval. | 341-2121

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