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Avondale Mayor Urges Restoration to Block Grant Funds

By Xi Chen for Cronkite News Service reported on KTAR

Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers

Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers

Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers was in Washington on Wednesday urging Congress to reverse “unconscionable” cuts to the Community Development Block Grants program, which helps more than 1,200 local governments.

Rogers joined other members of the National League of Cities board who criticized Congress for continuing, in her words, to “slash funding that cities, day in, day out, depend on.”

The block grant program, started in 1974, gives local governments grants for economic and community development projects. But its budget was cut from $4.4B in fiscal 2010 to $3.1B this year.

The Senate would keep funding next year at the current level, but a House plan would slash the budget to $1.6B in fiscal 2014.

Arizona housing officials, however, said it is still too early to tell how the block grant program might be funded. Daniel Romm, legislative liaison for the Arizona Department of Housing, said the state is “kind of in a holding pattern at this point.”

He said Arizona committed $14M of the CDBG funds in 2012, helping more than 86K households in the state. But he said it would be hard to speculate about programming in the coming year until the state hears from the Department of Housing and Urban Development about its funding.

Romm said the House bill includes “a significant cut” to the home investment partnerships program, which gives states grants to develop and preserve affordable single-family and rental housing.

Read more at KTAR