The Most Effective Federal Grants for Mid-Sized Cities – CitiesSpeak

As 2017 comes to a close, city leaders are concerned about the future of critical grant programs. Earlier this year, the Trump Administration released the Department of Housing and Urban Development budget for fiscal year 2018, which proposed the sweeping elimination of flexible block grant programs, including Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships grants.

All together, the elimination of these programs would cause cities and states to lose out on $3.948 billion that they use to make effective changes to their communities.

The new story map, “CDBG and HOME: Essential Grants for Mid-Sized Cities” showcases how CDBG and HOME grants benefit mid-sized cities and their citizens. According to the National League of Cities’ 2017 Local Economic Conditions survey, mid-sized cities identified affordable housing, demand for survival services and skill alignment with employer needs as the top constraints negatively affecting their economic growth.

After looking broadly at 41 mid-sized cities and doing extensive research on six – including Roanoke, VA; Waco, TX; Independence, MO; Akron, OH; Little Rock, AR; and Boulder, CO – it is evident that cities are using CDBG and HOME dollars to directly address these needs. The broad overview in the story map showcases how much funding each city gets, and how they spend their CDBG dollars. The six case studies feature video interviews of elected officials to depict why CDBG and HOME grants are beneficial to their communities and interactive maps that illustrate where some projects have been completed in each city. Each city has unique needs, methods of utilizing their grant funding and success rates.