HUD block grant program lauded

The Community Development Block Grant program has aided Kaua‘i affordable-housing projects, public services development and job creation, states a county press release.

Mayor Bryan J. Baptiste announced in the release that April 17 through April 23 will be Community Development Week on Kaua‘i, in honor of the CDBG program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This year’s theme is “CDBG: Moving Communities Forward,” celebrating 31 years the CDBG program has been in existence.

CDBG is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique, community development needs. Beginning in 1974, the CDBG program is one of the longest continuously run programs in HUD.

The program provides annual grants on a formula basis to 1,180 general units of local government and states.

A pictorial presentation depicting projects previously funded by the CDBG program on Kaua‘i is scheduled for April 18 at 10 a.m., and April 20 at 2 p.m., at the Lihu‘e Civic Center, Pi‘ikoi Building, conference room A.

A public workshop will take place April 26, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the Lihu‘e Civic Center, Pi‘ikoi Building, conference room A, for anyone interested in applying for fiscal-year 2007 CDBG funds.

“The CDBG program provides the county with much-needed funds for development of affordable housing, public services and facilities, as well as job creation and retention,” said the mayor in the release. “The diversity of projects selected this year attests to our commitment to making Kaua‘i a more viable place to live.” Officials with the Kaua‘i County Housing Agency in the Offices of Community Assistance expect to receive $806,536 in federal fiscal year 2006. Nine projects have been selected for funding by Baptiste, and are scheduled for consideration today by the County Council (the county department, office or nonprofit entity requesting the funds is in parenthesis), including:

• $162,289 to finance low-cost mortgage loans to assist low- to moderate-income first-time homebuyers to purchase their own homes (KCHA);

• $150,000 to retain services of an organization to provide homeownership education and counseling component for the county’s Home-Buyer Loan Program (KCHA);

• $48,480 to purchase a new 4×4, crew-cab truck to be combined with an after-market dropin firefighting kit that will create a new brush-attack response vehicle for the Kapa‘a fire station (Kaua‘i Fire Department);

• $48,480 to purchase a new 4×4, crew-cab truck to be combined with an after-market dropin firefighting kit that will create a new brush-attack response vehicle for the Waimea Fire Station (KFD);

• $110,000 to replace the theatre roof and extend the service life of the walls of the Historic Waimea Theatre Complex (West Kauai Business and Professional Association);

• $5,000 for pre-development costs for restoration of the historic Japanese stone lantern located at Kapa‘a Beach Park (Kapa‘a Business Association);

• $51,550 for expansion of a legal-services program for the homeless to include services to families on the verge of homelessness (Legal Aid Society of Hawaii);

• $27,000 for expansion of a supplemental preschool educational program for children who require additional attention for proper physical, emotional, cognitive or social development (Kauai Independent Daycare Services);

• $42,430 for replacement of two aging vehicles for the delivery of lunch meals to severely disabled individuals (Kauai Economic Opportunity, Inc.).

The CDBG program is administered nationally by HUD, while KCHA administers the program locally.

The Offices of Community Assistance KCHA utilizes some CDBG resources to identify, prioritize, and resolve pressing local problems.

These include areas of affordable housing, development of public and private facilities that principally benefit low- and moderate- income people, public service needs, job creation and retention, and housing and facilities rehabilitation.

The CDBG program has had a significant impact on Kaua‘i’s economy through job creation and retention, infrastructure improvements, and an improved tax base, reads a mayoral proclamation celebrating the program.

For more information, contact Jo Shimamoto, CDBG coordinator, at 241-4428.

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