WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has successfully worked to restore the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Senator Baldwin led the fight against President Trump’s budget proposal to eliminate the federal CDBG program, which funds local community development initiatives that support jobs, housing, infrastructure, and public services for millions of Americans.
“From touring neighborhood revitalization projects to delivering a Meals-on-Wheels care package, I’ve seen how Community Development Block Grants help people and drive economic development all across Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “I led the fight in the Senate against President Trump’s proposed elimination of the CDBG program, and I’m proud that we will reverse these cuts in bipartisan legislation that passed committee and is moving forward. Together, we can continue to make differences in the lives of so many families in Wisconsin.”
Trump’s budget proposal would have reduced funding for the CDBG program from $3 billion to zero. In response, Senator Baldwin led a group of 42 Senators in calling to maintain full federal funding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant program in the Fiscal Year 2018.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin successfully restored full federal finding of CDBG in the FY2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. Today, this bipartisan legislation passed the Appropriations Committee and is now moving to the full Senate for a vote.
For 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. In just the last year, this community development program invested more than $56 million in Wisconsin. Senator Baldwin has highlighted the many ways CDBG invests in a stronger Wausau.
Notably, Community Development Block Grants help support state and local Meals-on-Wheels programs across the country, a popular and effective public-private partnership that provides hot meals to over 2.4 million senior citizens every year, saving taxpayers billions in healthcare costs. Senator Baldwin delivered a meal to a senior in Kenosha earlier this year to highlight the importance of CDBG funding for the Meals-on-Wheels program.
The CDBG program 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.
Some success stories of how CDBG investments have helped Wisconsin communities across the state:
In Appleton, CDBG funds have provided services for individuals with mental illness and job training for 170 individuals recovering from substance abuse. The City of Appleton’s CDBG program also serves as a funding source for a variety of non-profit organizations throughout the Fox Cities area. Without CDBG funding, many local non-profits would struggle to maintain several projects and programs. The Salvation Army would be forced to allocate funds that were otherwise dedicated to their pantry program towards repairing their facility roof. The Mooring Programs, which provide housing and services for individuals suffering from addiction and substance abuse, would not be able to rehabilitate and maintain their housing stock. Fewer households would receive emergency financial assistance, resulting in higher eviction rates and increased homeless counts in the region. The loss of funding would also directly impact the government of the City of Appleton, which would administratively lose approximately 20% funding annually.
In the past decade, the CDBG program has invested over $7 million to assist tens of thousands of Wisconsinites in Eau Claire. For Eau Claire residents, CDBG funds have supported home lead remediation and asbestos removal efforts. Funds have also helped support fist-time homeownership to boost the local economy. The CDBG program has also invested in women-owned start-ups to promote job creation and innovation in Eau Claire. Despite these successes, Eau Claire CDBG finding has been cut from nearly $1 million to just over $500,000.
Grant County / Fennimore
In Grant County, CDBG investments have helped construct a new fire station, renovate a decommissioned elementary school building into a new public library and improve a village hall to be handicap accessible. Following flooding in 2007 and 2008, CDBG funds helped repair a damaged community sanitary sewer system. Additionally, CDBG funds have been invested in infrastructure projects across Grant County, including the development of a new industrial park. This infrastructure development now supports over 50 new jobs.
Brown County / Green Bay
Brown County serves as the lead county for administration of the CDBG-Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program for a ten-county Northeastern Wisconsin region, including the counties of Brown, Calumet, Door, Fond du Lac, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Outagamie, Sheboygan, and Winnebago. Since Brown County began administering the program in 2014, CDBG-Housing funds have assisted 148 low and moderate income homeowners by providing zero percent interest, deferred payment loans to perform much needed repairs to their homes throughout Northeastern Wisconsin. These CDBG-Housing funds also provide job opportunities as over $2.4 million in 2014 through 2016 has been paid to private contractors to perform work for approved homeowners. The private contractors that perform the work are typically from the area the home is located, thereby sustaining the local economy and family-supporting jobs in rural as well as urban areas across the region.
La Crosse / Coulee Region
Couleecap serves as the CDBG Administrator on behalf of La Crosse County for an eleven county region in Southwest Wisconsin. The Southwest Wisconsin Housing Region’s CDBG funding has been used to help homeowners with children that have elevated blood lead levels and help elderly and disabled people stay in their homes. If CDBG funding is eliminated, the current 109 person waiting list is expected to balloon. Recently, the CDBG program helped a widowed homeowner stay in her residence, as well assist a disabled veteran with a lead-poisoned child.
Last year, $14,500,000 in CDBG funding was invested in over 65 organizations in Milwaukee, including the Dominican Center for Women, which Senator Baldwin visited this year to highlight the importance of CDBG. In just one year, half a million dollars was invested in economic development through community-based agencies that provide technical assistance to businesses to help spur new job creation and job retention. Nearly one million dollars in CDBG funding was invested in boosting employment in the city, including transitional jobs programs and industry-specific skilled trade job training and placement programs. CDBG funds also invested in Milwaukee Promise, a multi-faceted effort to address poverty, joblessness, health, crime and education in Milwaukee neighborhoods.
In 2016, Racine received $1.7 million in CDBG funding to invest in community development. This funding helped 127 at-risk middle school students get matched to adult mentors. CDBG funding has also been critical for local job training efforts as 33 Wisconsinites received training in building trades, 25 young Wisconsinites were taught basic job skills and 30 young workers received job skills trainings. The City of Racine also uses CDBG funds for small business loans and technical assistance to help create and retain jobs. Additionally, CDBG funding helped save 103 manufacturing jobs in Racine last year.
The City of Sheboygan has historically received approximately $800,000 to $1,000,000 from the CDBG program. Over the past 10 years, Sheboygan has used CDBG funds to help local non-profits including the Salvation Army, Shoreline Metro, Safe Harbor, Family Connections, Partners for Community Development and Habitat for Humanity. For the local Boys and Girls Club, the CDBG program funded $16,000 for renovations to the Stayer Unit to benefit children of Sheboygan. Additionally, CDBG funds support the Sheboygan City Development Department, saving local taxpayer money.
Over $6.5 million in CDBG funds has been invested in Waukesha County over the last five years. In that time, the towns of Brookfield, Genesee, and Vernon, the Villages of Nashotah, Hartland, and Merton and the cities of Pewaukee, Oconomowoc and Waukesha are some of the 37 municipalities in Waukesha County who have benefitted from CDBG investments. CDBG funds have supported local Waukesha County programs, including more than 20 non-profit agencies, that serve working families, veterans, seniors, at-risk youth, people with disabilities, business owners and the homeless. CDBG funds have also been invested as loans to 11 businesses, resulting in 55 low and moderate income jobs created in Waukesha County over the last five years. All of the funds are required to be repaid, with interest, and then loaned again to new businesses via the County’s Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund.
In the last 5 years, the CDBG program has invested over $7 million in West Allis. Economic development loans have created 120 new full-time jobs in West Allis. CDBG funds have also strengthen public services, including building improvements to the West Allis Senior Center, providing child care for 160 Wisconsinites, and backing a domestic violence support group. Additionally, the CDBG funning has helped promote public safety with a neighborhood watch block program and additional police presence.