Shaheen Statement on NH Community Development Block Grant Programs Running Out of Federal Funding
**Federal grant funding on hold for some NH programs that provide support for children who have suffered abuse and affordable housing for low-income families**
**SHAHEEN: “Today’s unfortunate announcement demonstrates that Republican Leadership’s decision to pass stop-gap government funding has serious ramifications on Granite Staters and their families, whose health and well-being are on the line”**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, released the following statement in reaction to today’s announcement that the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) is suspending funds for several Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs. New Hampshire relies on CDBG grants for vital community programs including afterschool and youth programs, substance misuse and treatment centers, and housing and support for children who have suffered abuse. CDFA does not have reliable funding to provide grants to several CDBG projects because the Republican-led Congress chose to fund the government using a stop-gap funding bill instead of the regular appropriations process. CDFA also announced that it would suspend review of applications currently pending or yet-to-be submitted under all CDBG programs because of the ongoing budget uncertainty. Congress’s stop-gap funding bill is set to expire April 28th.
“Today’s unfortunate announcement demonstrates that Republican Leadership’s decision to pass stop-gap government funding has serious ramifications on Granite Staters and their families, whose health and well-being are on the line,” said Senator Shaheen. “The CDBG program has a long record of helping spur economic development in New Hampshire communities and providing families with quality, affordable housing. It’s unconscionable that programs like the Granite State Children's Alliance, which serves children affected by physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, are put in limbo while they wait on critical federal funding, simply because Republican leadership in the 114th Congress abandoned their responsibility to pass funding to meet the nation’s needs. Granite Staters deserve better. The Constitution vests in Congress the profound responsibility to appropriate funds to meet the nation’s needs. I take this responsibility seriously and will work in the Senate to ensure CDBG programs get the funding that they need.”
BACKGROUND ON THE FOUR UNFUNDED CDBG PROGRAMS
Town of Charlestown – Crown Point Cooperative Infrastructure Improvements
The Town of Charlestown is requesting $499,460 in CDBG funds on behalf of the Crown Point Cooperative to replace the existing individual septic systems with a single distribution system which will connect to the municipal wastewater system. In addition, the project will replace existing substandard electrical infrastructure.
Crown Point Cooperative, Inc., is a 15-unit manufactured home community served by municipal water and private septic systems. The cost of the project is estimated at $499,460. There is no leverage. DES funds are not available for this work and USDA would require an additional year of study work. An income survey indicates all 15 households in the Coop are low- and moderate-income and the bylaws of the Crown Point Cooperative define their purpose as to preserve the Community for the current residents, and to keep it affordable long term for low and moderate-income individuals and families.
Town of Derry – Frost Coop Municipal Water and Sewer Connections Project
The Town of Derry is requesting $499,840 in CDBG funds on behalf of the Frost Residents Cooperative to replace existing septic systems by connecting to the municipal wastewater system and to demolish an unsafe building. The Department of Environmental Services considers this issues with the current water supply and distribution system, as well as septic system, to be a significant deficiency which poses a risk to public health.
Frost Residents Cooperative was developed in the early 1950’s. The residents took ownership of Frost as a NH Community Loan Fund (NHCLF) Resident-Owned Community (ROC) in 1995. The co-op, located off of Route 28 in Derry, has 30 households of which 25 (83%) are low- and moderate-income according to the income survey conducted by NHCLF. The project will have significant long-term benefits to low- and moderate-income households.
Town of Exeter – Meeting Place IV Affordable House
The Town of Exeter is requesting $500,000 in CDBG funds, on behalf of Avesta Housing, to develop 43 units of family housing, 38 of which will be affordable. This application is for the forth phase of a larger project that will ultimately result in a four building 122-unit project.
Rental rates for the tenants, whose household incomes may not exceed 50% or 60% of Median Area Income, will remain affordable for a 99-year period. The units will be occupied 88% by low-income households.
Belknap County – Child Advocacy Center
Belknap County is requesting $455,000 in CDBG funds on behalf of Granite State Children’s Alliance (GSCA) for the renovation of 95 Water Street in Laconia to centralize services for the Greater Lakes Child Advocacy Center (CAC).
The CAC supports child victims of physical and sexual abuse, as well children who have witnessed violent crimes. CAC supports these children in the early stages of criminal investigations by offering forensic interview services and by connecting them to important community resources.
CAC plans to renovate the 4000 square foot building in order to develop a Model Child Advocacy Center. The expanded space would allow CAC to offer centrally located, coordinated services for children and families all in one location, to include: administration, medical examinations, counseling, mental health and legal services. Having these services under one roof streamlines a very complicated support system, thus putting the child and family in the best position to be successful in recovery.
CAC provided Medicaid information indicating that over 76% of the 200 beneficiaries are low-and-moderate – income. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $585,000. CDBG funds would be leveraged by $110,000 in CDFA tax credits and $20,000 from Ronald McDonald Charities.