The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) kicked off its redesign of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program earlier this week. HCD convened a Redesign Working Group (RWG), made up of stakeholders representing a diversity of California’s non-entitlement jurisdictions, organizations, and grant consultants, of which RCRC is a member. HCD has initiated the process to redesign the CDBG Program to meet federal requirements, reflect budgetary shortages, address low expenditure rates and high levels of unspent program income, and comply with Senate Bill 106 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, 2017), which expressed the legislative intent for improving the CDBG Program and engage in specific activities to address stakeholder concerns.
The 2017 CDBG Redesign will result in new CDBG Program Guidelines that will replace the existing regulations. The RWG will meet approximately every three weeks through December 2017, and then once a month in 2018. The RWG, in partnership with HCD and the CDBG Advisory Group, is expected to complete the CDBG Program Guidelines for submittal to the Department of Finance for approval and notification to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee by June 30, 2018.
During the release of Budget Trailer Bills for the 2017/18 State Budget Package, SB 106 included proposed amendments to HCD’s CDBG Program to streamline HCD’s workload to reflect budgetary shortages and meet federal requirements, while effectively serving the needs of non-entitlement communities within the state. The bill proposed to reduce the economic development allocation in half, restrict activities allowed, and raise the lower and upper thresholds of proposals. Several counties and cities were opposed to the changes, particularly due to the circumvention of the existing CDBG Advisory Committee process to make recommendations to improve efficiencies in the program. In light of the opposition, Senate Bill 106 was amended and directed HCD to engage in specific activities to address stakeholder concerns.
Any issues or concerns from RCRC member counties should be directed to Mary Pitto a firstname.lastname@example.org.