To: Interested Parties
From: Director of Community Services
Re: Community Development Block Grant
Date: September 10, 2008
2006 CDBG Mini-Entitlement Award
In July of 2006 the Town was awarded $600,000 to begin its second CDBG grant. Activities included:
$350,000 - Valley Community Development Corporation
These funds will be used to help fund the new construction of 11 units of rental housing for low- and moderate income Amherst residents. Construction of these housing units is expected to be complete by October 1, 2008 with occupancy beginning on November 1, 2008.
$66,912 - Family Outreach of Amherst
These funds were used to sub-contract with Family Outreach of Amherst, a program of the Center for Human Development, to hire a Family Service Coordinator who will help families obtain resources, develop supportive connections, and reduce social isolation and improve access to services that will promote the healthy psychosocial and emotional development of young children. This support, for families with children attending grades 6 – 12, has addressed social service needs by providing a way for families to locate the services they are in most need of that include; short-term mental health counseling, parent education workshops, case-management services, and parent-child home visiting education, health services, childcare and others.
$75,000 – Childcare Tuition Assistance
$75,000.00 was used to provide approximately 10 low- and moderate-income families with an average grant award off $7,500 per year. The amount of funding each household received was based on the Massachusetts Early Education and Care sliding fee scale that establishes parent fees based on household size and income (attachment, state sliding fee scale). The Amherst program pays providers the difference between their published rate and the amount that each household is required to pay. 100% of the families receiving financial tuition assistance will be low and moderate-income; they will all be certified income-eligible by submitting third party documentation, verifying their gross household income as described above. The program serves income-eligible households with infants (0 – 15 months), toddlers (15 months – 2.9 years of age) and pre-school age children for whom no other funds are available. All Daycare Centers or Family Daycare Providers are required to be licensed or registered with the Massachusetts Early Education and Care Department.
2007 CDBG Award
During the summer of FY 08 the Town received notification that its FY 07 grant was approved for $275,000.00. The Community Services Department began program implementation during the fall of FY 08 by responding to a series of special conditions and completing an environmental review as required by CDBG and HUD regulations.
The Community Services Department began program implementation of this program during the fall of FY 07 by responding to a series of special conditions and completing an environmental review of each activity for the above activities.
The Town received $23,400.00 in order to modify the elevator and two bathrooms in the Bangs Community Center in order that they are usable by individuals of all abilities. The elevator modifications will be finished this fall but it appears that the bathrooms are already in compliance and therefore these funds will be reallocated to other activities.
Mortgage Subsidy Program:
The Town was awarded $150,000 to provide funding for an additional three low- and moderate-income households to participate in the mortgage buy-down program. These homes will also be permanently deed restricted and therefore be affordable in perpetuity. To this date two households have received funding to purchase homes and Amherst; it is hoped another household will be able to purchase a home by December 31, 2008.
Childcare Tuition Assistance:
The Town received $55,000 to continue to provide childcare subsidies for low-and moderate-income households with parents working or attending school.
2007 Housing Development Support Grant Program
Chestnut Ct. Kitchen Renovation:
As part of the Town’s FY 05 Community Development Block Grant, the Town provided funding for the design phase of a renovation project of kitchens at Chestnut Court Apartments, a disabled and elderly housing development owned by the Amherst Housing Authority. During the fall of FY 07, the Town responded to a request for proposal from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development for funding to complete this renovation project.
During the fall of FY 08 the Department completed all the paperwork required to begin contracting for services for the renovation of the kitchens at Chestnut Ct. Apartment. The Town, during January of 2008, first signed a contract with the Amherst Housing Authority, which was required to develop bid specifications that complied with Chapter 149, the state’s construction law, but also with all federal CDBG and HUD requirements, The Town was also responsible for relocating tenants while their kitchens are being renovated – this involved bidding and contracting with movers and packers, locating appropriate hotel space, contracting for food, cleaning of units after renovation and other miscellaneous services. The general bids were due on March 12, 2008 – the low bidder was Thayer Street Associates. As the project was ready to begin, it turned out that the cabinets that were ordered were not correct and therefore as of June 30, 2008 construction had not begun.
2008 Mini-Entitlement Award:
During the fall of FY 08 the Town was notified by DHCD that it will be designated a mini-entitlement community for 2 years after which the Department (DHCD) will reevaluate each communities status. The Town’s FY 08 CDBG grant request included the following:
North Amherst School: $480,143
The Town requested funding for building repair and improvements at the North Amherst School that will include re-pointing bricks, fixing window trim, the front steps and all handicapped accessible ramps. The Town will request a variance from the Architectural Access Board’s requirement to construct a handicapped accessible ramp at the east entrance to the building.
Homeless Outreach: $85,000
The Town requested funding to provide case management and outreach services for homeless individuals. The Town will contract with the Center for Human Development to provide services as specified in the grant agreement.
Childcare Tuition Assistance: $75,000
The Town requested $75,000 to continue to provide childcare subsidies for low-and moderate-income households with parents working or attending school.