CDBG funding available from City of Orange; elected leaders share goals for funding focus
Published 12:18 am Thursday, February 16, 2023
The City of Orange is accepting applications for the Community Development Block Grant program.
CDBG funds are made possible by federal funding. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides for annual grants primarily meant to serve low- to moderate-income populations.
Flexibility is given, but organizations are required to meet one of three National Objectives: “benefiting low-and moderate income persons, preventing or eliminating slums or blights, or meeting other community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community and other financial resources are not available to meet such needs.”
The City of Orange grant proposal application lists four objectives that grant applicants may use funds for:
- Assistance for the homeless,
- Assistance for persons with special needs,
- Infrastructure improvements, and
- Social services for low to moderate income persons.
Prior organizations receiving CDBG funds from the City of Orange include The Orange Community Action Association/ Meals on Wheels, Greater Orange Literary Services, Jackson Community Center, Southeast Texas Hospice, Stable Spirit, Julie Rogers Gift of Life, BuildHer and Voice of Hope.
CDBG proposals are reviewed by city staff, an advisory Citizens Action Committee that makes recommendations and the city council.
Ultimately, the city council is responsible for final grant approvals.
Although the grant program is open to new as well as existing organizations, inflation and budget concerns may limit grant awards.
During a meeting of the city council Tuesday, several council members questioned Grants Planner Rita Monson regarding the scale of the program this year.
Mayor Larry Spears Jr.’s comments and questions reflected his concern for seniors served by meals on wheels.
“I know we have new [organizations seeking CDBG funds] and we want to open it up. But this year, one, I would want to try to find a way to help more because they are hurting is Meals on Wheels,” Spears said.
“Without Meals on Wheels, some of these people don’t even get something to eat, which is very important.”
Monson said the city is limited by what it receives, adding this year Orange’s allotment decreased by 3.4 over the year prior.
“We are hoping that the amount will go back up,” Monson said. “We did increase Meals on Wheels this year by $2,000 more. We’re doing everything we can to help the ones we already help but to also allow new agencies to come in and receive assistance.”
According to Monson, the new Meals on Wheels director increased the service population, justifying the increase in CDBG awards granted to them from the city this year.
While the motion was considered, Councilwoman Terrie T. Salter and Mayor Pro Tem Paul Burch voiced support for an increase in funding for Meals on Wheels.
Applications for CDBG funds may be accessed by visiting orangetexas.gov.
Proposals must be submitted to the Community Development Division by 5 p.m. March 30.
Proposals are submitted to Monson, who may be reached at 409-988-7395.
— Written by Shari Hardin