Press Release

Gillibrand Calls For Full Funding Of Community Development Block Grant Program And Provide Lifeline For Cash-Strapped Upstate Communities Struggling To Afford Essential Services

Feb 23, 2021

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand joined Senate Democrats to call for full funding of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which funds local community development initiatives that support jobs, housing, infrastructure, and public services for millions of Americans. CDBG funding provides a lifeline for cash-strapped upstate communities whose budgets have been hit hard by the pandemic. The funding provides municipalities with the resources to support affordable housing, economic development and other critical resources for seniors, low- and middle-income residents and the organizations that serve them.

“The Community Development Block Grant is a critical investment that supports local economic development and jobs, community revitalization, and affordable housing across Upstate New York—we must ensure that funding the program is finally prioritized,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As municipalities and local organizations try to operate with drained resources due to the pandemic, they’re relying on CDBG funding to support some of our most vulnerable families. Providing communities with a robust stream of federal funding will help thousands of New Yorkers struggling to get by.”

For more than 40 years, the CDBG program has invested over $149 billion in communities across the country and helped over 133 million Americans. The CDBG program has created or retained over 100,000 jobs over the past five years, and last year provided public service benefits such as substance abuse services, child care, senior citizen care, and services for the disabled to over 9 million people.

Communities across New York State use CDBG funding to address a wide range of needs and it enables local governments to support affordable housing initiatives and expand economic development. Additionally, the CDBG program provides municipalities in New York with the critical funding needed to leverage outside investment in job creation projects and the reconstruction of public facilities, neighborhood facilities, senior centers, centers for the handicapped, recreation facilities, and streetlights. The funds continue to play a critical role in facilitating local economic development in Upstate New York and in helping local governments succeed. 

Full text of the letter can be found here and below.  

Dear Mr. President: 

We write in support of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The CDBG program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is one of the Federal government’s most effective means to revitalize low-and moderate-income communities across the country. Regrettably, the previous Administration proposed budgets that would have eliminated CDBG. Congress rejected those proposals and has steadily increased this vital community development funding, and provided additional CDBG funds as part of the CARES Act to help states and local governments to respond to COVID-19. We hope that you will prioritize funding for CDBG in your Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal. 

Over 1,200 state and local governments receive annual CDBG funding directly and every state, territory, and congressional district receives or has access to CDBG funds. States and local governments use CDBG funds for projects related to housing, community and economic development, infrastructure projects and human services. CDBG funds allow for partnerships with nonprofits to address community needs.

CDBG funding supports homeownership, housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements and community and economic development projects while encouraging additional local investment. CDBG funds are used to assist creditworthy, working families with down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase a home. Homeownership stabilizes neighborhoods, allows families to build assets, and adds to the local tax base. Moreover, communities may use CDBG funding for lead-based paint testing and abatement, infrastructure improvements, including safe drinking water and sanitary sewer systems, street improvements, and the development of child care centers and health clinics that provide health services and dental care to low-income children. 

Through economic development activities, including microenterprise assistance, direct assistance to businesses, and the development of public facilities, CDBG is a jobs generator. CDBG provides resources to Meals on Wheels and other local food programs to ensure our low-income seniors receive daily nourishment and contact. Further, CDBG funds are used to build senior centers to allow seniors to receive health and recreational services to stay engaged and healthy. Local communities use CDBG funds to provide afterschool programs for low-income children and summer jobs for low-income youth, as well as to build recreation centers to provide a safe outlet for learning, sports and personal growth.  

Thank you for your attention to and consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to support community development and revitalization.