During the current budget year, the City received nearly $21 million in federal community development block grant funds - about a million dollars less than we had expected and far less than the City had received only a few years ago. Federal block grant funds support a variety of affordable housing, infrastructure, jobs, and social service programs in neighborhoods throughout the City. The decrease over the years reflects the changing priorities of the federal Administration in Washington, DC - the fact that we still receive as much as we do is due primarily to the good efforts of US Senator Kit Bond and his staff, and to US Representatives Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan. In 2007, we expect to receive more than we actually got in 2006 - but still $2 million less that what we received in 2005.
There’s some good news in the details. A portion of the City’s Section 108 loan against the block grant has now been paid off. This means the 108 payment will be $3 million less than it was in 2006. The largest of the HOPE VI commitments have run their course. This means that we will have more "usable" block grant income in 2007 than we did in 2006 --approximately $2 million more.
The plan for this usable income is to put it where it is most needed - in major housing initiatives on the City’s North Side, and in housing initiatives throughout the City that address neighborhood problems. In addition, we plan to put back what the tight budget forced us to cut last year in key youth programs.
And there is more good news. As the market for property on the eastern edge of the City’s Central West End has been rebuilt, we are receiving repayments from Urban Development Action Grants that the City received in the early 1980s. This one-time money will give us the opportunity to help Better Family Life with the renovation of the Emerson School and to put more money this year into some major housing initiatives and housing developments that address problem properties.