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It's CDBG Week: help your community celebrate a great program.

The seventh annual celebration of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program takes place this week, April 5-11, 1993 as the program nears its 20th anniversary. Leaders from communities across the nation, can show all of America why CDBG deserves a celebration.

This year's celebration will be especially significant as a new administration takes over in the White House and at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

It is encouraging to have a former mayor in the position of HUD Secretary, one who understands the complexities of urban problems and appreciates the importance of the Community Development Block Grant in improving our communities.

As communities nationwide take part in the annual CD Week campaign at the local and state levels, the program is being emphasized as one of the key elements- of President Clinton's economic stimulus proposal to create new jobs quickly and provide immediate assistance for much needed public facilities and services in the current fiscal year.

Outlining the President's plan, Secretary Cisneros indicated that CDBG was selected as one of the stimulus components for three specific reasons: 1) CDBG can create jobs; 2) the program's distribution patterns are well established; and 3) it represents a federal partnership with local governments that understand priorities in their own communities.

We at the local level must strive to ensure that we protect the national integrity and viability of the CDBG program. We can use the events of National Community Development Week to identify the critical role of the Community Development Block Grant to our elected officials at home and in the nation's capital. These officials must understand and witness the success stories made possible by CDBG.

In my own community of Daytona Beach, Fla., CDBG funds were used for a program to assist low-income first-time homebuyers to achieve the "American Dream" of home-Ownership and become productive tax-paying citizens. On April 29, the National Community Development Association will honor especially outstanding uses of CDBG funds in addressing the needs of other low and moderate income citizens by presenting three national Community Development awards. The 1993 Audrey Nelson Community Development Achievement Awards will be presented for the following projects at the NCDA Congressional Breakfast to be held in the historic Caucus Room of the Senate Russell Office Building:

Police Homeowners Loan Program Columbia, S.C.

This innovative program provides funding for city police officers to purchase and or rehabilitate homes in targeted high crime neighborhoods. In addition to the CDBG funding, the City contributes monies obtained through bond refinancing. The loan program allows officers to take advantage of 20 year mortgages at 4 percent, coupled with the funds required to make any needed repairs. The Goal of homeownership is promoted while bridging the gap between the community and the police.

HCA Family Fund Sonoma County, Calif.

The CDBG-supported H.CA Family Fund is a homeless prevention program developed to assist at-risk households with rental assistance, deposits and other expenses critical to maintaining a household for up to one year. In addition to the one time grant, the program provides access to support services to ensure the' client will be able to maintain the household.

Main Street Market Harderd, Conn.

The Main Street Market is an outdoor marketplace developed in downtown Hartford to address the lack of affordable fresh produce for the city's low income residents; provide an opportunity for the start up of small businesses by providing low cost vendor space and a built-in client base; and provide a central gathering place for Hartford's diverse population.

A Reminder to Back CDBG

As we mark the seventh annual CD Week, we must be mindful of the challenging period our nation faces. As the political debate intensifies on how best to address our economic problems, programs like CDBG will compete with other domestic programs for limited federal resources. We must make a strong case for its continuation and expansion, and National Community Development Week is the time to do it.

James E. Huger, president of the National Community Development Association is community development director, for Daytona Beach, Fla.
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Title Annotation:includes related dedication by Henry Cisneros; Community Development Block Grant Program
Author:Huger, James E.
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Apr 5, 1993
Words:677
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