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Feds slash city’s funding; programs likely to be cut

ALBANY — Programs will likely be eliminated and staff laid off after city of Albany officials received word that the Federal Government has slashed their Community and Economic Development Department budget by as much 37 percent.

The department, which is funded solely by federal tax dollars administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, oversees two main funds — the Community Development Block Grant program and the HOME fund, which promotes initiatives for low-to-moderate income housing.

DCED Director Latoya Cutts called the cut to the city’s allocation “substantial.”

“We expected that there would be some level of cuts, but in terms of how deep those cuts would be ... cuts at this level are substantial,” Cutts said. “It’s going to impact us in a number of ways.”

The city’s CDBG fund went from $1,238, 630 in FY2011 to $755,278 this fiscal year, a drop of 27 percent.

The cut to the HOME fund was much more substantial.

In 2011, that fund was allocated $577,990. This year, that number dropped by 36.7 percent to $366,120.

Cutts said that unless alternative measures are made, her staff will likely be cut and programs shuttered.

“It means we’re really going to have to take a close look at all of our programs and prioritize those programs that are identified in our consolidated master plan as the ones with the greatest need,” Cutts said. “And when the funding runs out, the programs left will likely be cut.”

When asked if her staff members, which are paid solely from the two programs, will be impacted, Cutts said simply, “Yes.”

Ironically, the decision to cut Albany’s funding allocation came because the city, comparatively did better managing the recession than others.

The cuts are a direct result of data obtained from the 2010 census which showed that while Albany did lose population and saw a spike in unemployment, it fared much better than other larger entitlement cities who got hit harder by the bursting housing bubble and the Great Recession.

The situation, however, is also impacted by pressure in Washington to trim funding for social and entitlement programs.

Cutts says that her office is currently working on putting together a contingency that would involve submitting a first budget request from the city commission to ask that the board subsidize a portion of the DCED programs using the upcoming FY2013 budget.

The CDBG program currently funds programs that help low-to-moderate income homeowners weatherize their homes to make them more energy efficient and reduce utility bills, provide emergency repairs to homes, provide facade grants to commercial businesses and startup financing for commercial businesses.

The HOME program provides funding for programs like one that helps homeowners rehabilitate their homes, and supplemental financing for low-to-moderate income people who are buying homes.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 2 years, 6 months ago

A temporary ruse in an election year.

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dingleberry 2 years, 6 months ago

Well, finally some good news! For those who not familiar. DCED is the city's proponent for subsidized Federal housing programs and operates on Federal $$. And, drum roll please, DCED gave you the University Gardens, and Grovetown (Cutliff Grove) debacles and tried to give you a $16 million stimulus redo on the Heritage House et al.

Not covered in the article, perhaps the loss of CDBG and Home funds will nip the unnecessary move of WG&L to the Suntrust building. The move would have freed up the old Gordon Hotel building for conversion to apartments. Rumored to include subsidized units, so Federal funds could be used, the result would likely be another failure. Do you want to buy an expensive apartment in a building with low rent tenants as neighbors? No, and no one else in their right mind does either. As Barney Fife once said, "Nip it. Nip it in the bud!"

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whattheheck 2 years, 6 months ago

There are two sayings that generally seem true. "Poverty breeds poverty" and "poverty attracts poverty". The "breeding" is evidenced by generations of people living in housing intended to be a temporary helping hand and the growth in unwed welfare mothers. The "attraction" is evidenced in Albany's ever growing number living in poverty. These conditions are facts supported by census and other similar data.

In the last 20 years, we have continuously built more and higher quality low rent housing and as with the movie "Field of Dreams", people came and our poverty numbers have swelled. We are growing our own poverty and killing the city in the process trying to be nice to the poor who come for a better life--at our expense. The impact of such growth is seen in the schools, jails, hospitals and in crime and unemployment numbers. The 2010 Poverty Analysis talks of possibly increasing poverty in this manner and our growth patterns in the past at least 20 years tend to support it. Have you seen an increase in taxpayers lately?

So, cheer up. Losing funds for city housing programs is actually a blessing even though some jobs will be lost in the process. In the long term, the impact should be a positive one.

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Cartman 2 years, 6 months ago

Cuts in federal funding? Trimming the budget? City having to cut back? All I can say is - it's about time.

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IQ_ABOVE_IDIOT 2 years, 6 months ago

Looks like the Reverend will have to wait another year to trade in the cadillac.

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