Federal funds keep BPDC humming and are currently under threat

From A word with Executive Director Bryan Gillooly in the Summer Community Post:

In this first year of a new United States Presidency, the budget for community development work throughout Cleveland is seriously threatened. The President’s first recommended budget makes drastic reductions throughout the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), including complete elimination of the HUD program called the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is intended to support community development corporations like BPDC that work hard to improve the neighborhood. Cleveland’s Mayor and City Council have publicly objected to this proposal because the cut would mean the elimination of $20 million and would devastate the community development efforts of the whole city.

There is a sentiment in some places throughout the community to “leave well enough alone” and stay out of the issues of national politics. I would encourage you not to buy-in to that attitude – but to voice your concern for federal programs and services and policies that matter to the quality of your life.

Ward 16 Councilman Brian Kazy is an adamant supporter of full funding for CDBG and the strong partner for our agency’s community development efforts. Understanding the possibility of federal cuts, he once asked me to describe what would happen to BPDC if it received no CDBG funds. We would no longer be able to help foster commercial and housing improvements along Lorain Avenue, or West 130th Street (or anywhere for that matter). We could not help the 100+ senior and disable citizens in the area that need help maintaining their home by cutting their grass in order to stay in compliance with city code. We could not assist people with home repair loans or referrals for contractors. It would be very difficult for us to help renovate foreclosed houses into beautiful single family homes. We would not help mediate conflicts between neighbors or with area businesses. We would lose our ability to help with the improvement of all the area schools. We would have afterschool programs and could continue to rent out our commercial space on Puritas, but it would be tough to maintain a website or print and send this newspaper. In short, our community development work would cease.

In April, BPDC’s Board of Directors voted to register its plea to continue the federal Community Development Block Grant Program and authorized staff to advocate for full funding of this program, important to us and organizations like the Bellaire-Puritas Development Corporation across the country. We have joined the National Low Income Housing Coalition in its effort to raise a unified voice, nationally, in support of CDBG and other programs that promote safe, decent and affordable housing (nlihc.org).

To review what can be done about this, let me point out every federal budget needs to be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate and signed by the President. Any of these three can introduce a budget and it is possible each one will. Ultimately, it is not likely that any budget will pass as introduced. There is a debate and deliberation process that will result in an amended budget that will pass both House and Senate and be signed into law.

The House and the Senate have together approved a budget (called the 2017 House Omnibus bill) that fully funds the CDBG line item in the HUD budget. That is good news. Please contact your U.S. Representative and both Ohio’s U.S. Senators to ask them to join with other national elected officials to fully fund CDBG and other HUD programs that responsibly promote safe, decent and affordable housing.

For your use, visit www.bpdc.org/advocacy for updated information about these issues and use this contact information for our neighborhood’s Congressional delegation:

US Senator Sherrod Brown
Phone: 216-522-7272
Website: brown.senate.gov

US Senator Rob Portman
Phone: 216-522-7095
Website: portman.senate.gov

US Representative Marcy Kaptur,
9th Congressional District;
Phone: 216-767-5933
Website: kaptur.house.gov

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