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Thread: CDBGs - expand my knowledge

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    CDBGs - expand my knowledge

    i had a phone interview the other day and one of the questions that came up was, "you know about CDBGs, right?" i, of course, said, "Yes!"

    while i am aware that they exist and have a weensy bit of knowledge about what they actually do, can the rest of you teach me about CDBGs or point me in the direction of materials on CDBGs? (i haven't had the chance to goole them yet).
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    I'd find out a few things... Look and see what the City or entity is using the CDBG funds for. I've worked for Cities that are entitlement - meaning they are guaranteed the money if they use if properly and for smaller towns that get their funds competitively or throught the State Dept. of Commerce. I will say it really varies on how things are done. From there I'd start the research. There are a wide variety of ways to spend CGBG too, so I think its important to find out or share (if you know) how they are spending the money and obtaining it... Just my 2 cents...

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus dandy_warhol's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    I'd find out a few things... Look and see what the City or entity is using the CDBG funds for. I've worked for Cities that are entitlement - meaning they are guaranteed the money if they use if properly and for smaller towns that get their funds competitively or throught the State Dept. of Commerce. I will say it really varies on how things are done. From there I'd start the research. There are a wide variety of ways to spend CGBG too, so I think its important to find out or share (if you know) how they are spending the money and obtaining it... Just my 2 cents...

    the organization is a joint county/city org. the county is competitive and the city is an entitlement community.
    In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dandy_warhol
    i had a phone interview the other day and one of the questions that came up was, "you know about CDBGs, right?" i, of course, said, "Yes!"

    while i am aware that they exist and have a weensy bit of knowledge about what they actually do, can the rest of you teach me about CDBGs or point me in the direction of materials on CDBGs? (i haven't had the chance to goole them yet).
    As far as uses for the funds you want to look up 24 CFR Part 570.201. It gives a list of eligible activities. 24 CFR Part 570.200 lists the national objectives of benefiting low-moderate income persons, prevention/elimination of slums/blight, and meeting an urgent community need.

    Here's some of the projects we've fully or partially funded through HUD funds:
    Reconstruction of Owner-Occupied Substandard Housing through HOME Program
    Housing Rehabilitation of Substandard Housing
    Public Works Improvements
    Safe Routes to Schools Program
    Sidewalk Construction in low-income area
    Water System upgrade for fire hydrants in low-income area
    Drainage System upgrade to reduce flooding in low-income area
    Construction of a Park in a low-income area
    Demolition of condemned structures
    First-Time Homebuyers Program
    Family Self-Sufficiency Program
    GED Program
    Utility assistance

    When you are interviewed, here are a few questions I would expect you to get since this is a community development position:

    1. Tell us a little about our city. What characteristics make it stand out to you?

    If you know from census numbers that the median income for the city is 20% less than the rest of the MSA and that over 70% of the units are rentals, this is a good time to mention that. Know some stuff about the city's demographics, but not so much that it sounds like you work for the census bureau.

    2. What are the three national objectives for CDBG?

    3. What are some examples of projects you think would be appropriate for CDBG?

    4. What are the income limits for someone to be considered low-moderate income?


    Some good stuff to throw into your interview:

    Mention how funding has been reduced for CDBG in recent years. If they ask why you think that is, avoid the political answer. My response to this question was due to more entities becoming entitlements without an increase in available funding at the legislative level.

    Ask them what projects they are particularly proud of and why. They will enjoy the opportunity to brag a little.


    You might also study up on Davis-Bacon (federal wage rate regulation). That comes into play a lot with project oversight. Also, you should take a look at 24 CFR Part 58, which deals with environmental regs. The environmental is some of the most time-consuming part of the paperwork. Also, you could benefit from visiting their website to get the city's most recent CAPER and Action Plans to see what they've used their funds for in the past.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by 'BurbFixer
    <Huge Snip>
    ... Also, you should take a look at 24 CFR Part 58, which deals with environmental regs. The environmental is some of the most time-consuming part of the paperwork...
    Indeed! You could make a living doing ER at some of the larger cdbg entitlements.

    'BurbFixer gets a Gunther Blue Ribbon Best Practices award for his outstanding reply. What? They don't give out Gunther awards at HUD anymore? Well they should!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Yeah IMO there is way too much flexibility in the CDBG stuff. I personally don't like the program and think its a waste of federal tax dollars. Too much of it goes to waste IMO. I know I'll get ripped for that by a lot of people, but I think I can make a good case to why it is not effecient and wasteful as a whole.

    But back to the topic. If it is a large entitlement City they are probably breaking there funds out into many projects, and that list can be almost endless as long as it meets the major criteria set-forth, that Suburb Repair Man mentioned- preventing of slum and blight, urgent need, yada yada... I'd read that a bit just to become somewhat familar with options then focus on what this City/County is doing with the funds and how you'll be involved... I have a power point presentation I used to present for the required Public Mtgs if you are interested. Most of it is from what Suburb Repair Man cited...

  7. #7
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    Yeah IMO there is way too much flexibility in the CDBG stuff. I personally don't like the program and think its a waste of federal tax dollars. Too much of it goes to waste IMO. I know I'll get ripped for that by a lot of people, but I think I can make a good case to why it is not effecient and wasteful as a whole.
    Off-topic:

    It's all about local administration for whether they go to waste... but that's a different topic for a different day!


    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    'BurbFixer gets a Gunther Blue Ribbon Best Practices award for his outstanding reply. What? They don't give out Gunther awards at HUD anymore? Well they should!
    I feel so special!!!

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    OFF TOPIC - Suburb Repairman, that is true in part up to the entity using the funds, but its still a waste even in the best of cases, with exception to those getting the funds... My first projects were water and sewerline replacements. Qualified through low to mod income. Sure great for the people, but still not an efficient way of completing such a project and why should joe-blow across the country be paying for these improvements? - OFF TOPIC


    Regardless of my thoughts I wish Dandy and hope you get an offer for the position that works for you. I did enjoy working with CDBG just from a learning standpoint. It was a good experience for me. Learned a lot more than just the mechanics of CDBG stuff but a lot in regards to public improvement projects in general.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Vlaude
    OFF TOPIC - Suburb Repairman, that is true in part up to the entity using the funds, but its still a waste even in the best of cases, with exception to those getting the funds... My first projects were water and sewerline replacements. Qualified through low to mod income. Sure great for the people, but still not an efficient way of completing such a project and why should joe-blow across the country be paying for these improvements?
    As a former CDBG administrator for competetive communities, I would tend to agree. The CDBG program basically takes money from locals in the form of federal tax dollars, filters it through a massive federal bureacracy (HUD), distributes it to the states with a massive set of strings attached (i.e. national objectives, NEPA, Davis-Bacon, Anti-Kickback, URA, etc.), who then filter it through the smaller state bureaucracy and eventually give it back to the locals with additional strings attached.

    It is basically an attempt to equalize community social and physical capital throughout the nation with terribly poor execution. With all of the layers of rules and regulations, it would actually be more effective if HUD executed the actual projects or if the money was given directly to local charities or community development corporations.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally posted by jmello
    The CDBG program basically takes money from locals in the form of federal tax dollars, filters it through a massive federal bureacracy (HUD), distributes it to the states with a massive set of strings attached (i.e. national objectives, NEPA, Davis-Bacon, Anti-Kickback, URA, etc.), who then filter it through the smaller state bureaucracy and eventually give it back to the locals with additional strings attached.
    The alternative is, of course, that the federal government takes the taxes and uses it for something else, somewhere else. Sifted, filtered, encumbered or not, I'll take half a loaf over no loaf every single day.

  11. #11
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    The alternative is, of course, that the federal government takes the taxes and uses it for something else, somewhere else. Sifted, filtered, encumbered or not, I'll take half a loaf over no loaf every single day.
    Can you imagine the pork barrelling that would go on if this was kept at the federal level with no local administration? Some of the strings could certainly stand to be removed, but like you, I'll take whatever I can get.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  12. #12
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman
    Can you imagine the pork barrelling that would go on if this was kept at the federal level with no local administration? Some of the strings could certainly stand to be removed, but like you, I'll take whatever I can get.
    Pork, not our Senators or House members!!!! The perfect example are the EDIs.(Econmic Development Initiatives). Which actually comes out of the CDBG budget. These funds are almost always given to someones pet project. I think it was around $300 million worth last year. I can just imagine what they would do with $3.7 billion!

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