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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Leads Colleagues to Call on Biden Administration to Fully Fund Community Development Block Grant Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today led her colleagues in calling on the Biden administration to prioritize funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which funds local community development initiatives that support jobs, housing, infrastructure, and public services for millions of Americans, in his upcoming budget proposal.

The Trump administration repeatedly tried to eliminate the CDBG program, but Senator Baldwin worked to reverse Trump’s cuts each year, and instead increase funding for this important program. In December, Baldwin successfully secured $3.475 billion for the CDBG program for Fiscal Year 2021, an increase over the previous year. Congress provided additional CDBG funds last year as communities worked to respond to the spread of COVID-19.

“The CDBG program is one of the federal government's most effective means to revitalize low-and moderate-income communities across the country,” said Senator Baldwin. “For the past four years, I have pushed back against President Trump’s proposed cuts because of the vital support the CDBG program provides to millions of American families and communities. Now more than ever, we must prioritize federal funding for local community development, jobs and affordable housing for the millions of Americans struggling to get by.”

For more than 40 years, the CDBG program has invested over $149 billion in communities across the country and helped over 133 million Americans. The CDBG program has created or retained over 100,000 jobs over the past five years, and last year provided public service benefits such as substance abuse services, child care, senior citizen care, and services for the disabled to over 9 million people.

It has also provided assistance to neighborhood-based organizations, including community development corporations, in support of economic development, housing assistance, or neighborhood revitalization activities in Wisconsin. Funding has also assisted in the reconstruction of public facilities, neighborhood facilities, senior centers, centers for the handicapped, recreation facilities, and streetlights. Importantly, CDBG invests in the next generation of Wisconsinites by providing afterschool programs and summer jobs for low-income youth, as well as building recreation centers to provide a safe place for learning, sports, and growth.

The letter was also signed by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Gary Peters (D-MI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tina Smith (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

The full letter is available here and included below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write in support of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The CDBG program, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is one of the Federal government's most effective means to revitalize low-and moderate-income communities across the country. Regrettably, the previous Administration proposed budgets that would have eliminated CDBG. Congress rejected those proposals and has steadily increased this vital community development funding, and provided additional CDBG funds as part of the CARES Act to help states and local governments to respond to COVID-19. We hope that you will prioritize funding for CDBG in your Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal.

Over 1,200 state and local governments receive annual CDBG funding directly and every state, territory, and congressional district receives or has access to CDBG funds. States and local governments use CDBG funds for projects related to housing, community and economic development, infrastructure projects and human services. CDBG funds allow for partnerships with nonprofits to address community needs.

CDBG funding supports homeownership, housing rehabilitation, infrastructure improvements and community and economic development projects while encouraging additional local investment. CDBG funds are used to assist creditworthy, working families with down payment and closing cost assistance to purchase a home. Homeownership stabilizes neighborhoods, allows families to build assets, and adds to the local tax base. Moreover, communities may use CDBG funding for lead-based paint testing and abatement, infrastructure improvements, including safe drinking water and sanitary sewer systems, street improvements, and the development of child care centers and health clinics that provide health services and dental care to low-income children.

Through economic development activities, including microenterprise assistance, direct assistance to businesses, and the development of public facilities, CDBG is a jobs generator. CDBG provides resources to Meals on Wheels and other local food programs to ensure our low-income seniors receive daily nourishment and contact. Further, CDBG funds are used to build senior centers to allow seniors to receive health and recreational services to stay engaged and healthy. Local communities use CDBG funds to provide afterschool programs for low-income children and summer jobs for low-income youth, as well as to build recreation centers to provide a safe outlet for learning, sports and personal growth.

Thank you for your attention to and consideration of this request. We look forward to working with you to support community development and revitalization.