Few dollars available means tougher decisions.

That was the message Citizens Advisory Committee Vice Chairman Fred Classon delivered to the Davenport City Council as it considered recommendations for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funding for the upcoming year during its Wednesday committee-of-the-whole meeting.

"Current requests approach $1.4 million, but the estimated entitlement is only expected to be $1.1 million," Classon said. "The need continues to grow as the funds continue to diminish."

The city of Davenport receives these block grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to use or pass along to nonprofit organizations with the intention of benefiting low- to moderate-income households.

"Every year, the CDBG and HOME programs help Davenport residents by making funds available for decent, safe, affordable housing, by improving neighborhood infrastructure, by loan funds to small businesses and by funding services to children, families, homeless, abuse survivors and those with mental illness," Classon said.

Annual CDBG funding has declined by 48 percent since it highest funding year, while HOME funding has been decreased by 52 percent.

Classon said the amount of grant funding is projected to be the lowest since federal fiscal year 1974.

Out of the nearly $1.1 million in grant awards, $210,000 is allocated toward public service organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Quad-Cities, Boys & Girls Club of the Iowa Mississippi Valley and Salvation Army Family Service Center, among others.

The committee has also recommended United Neighbors, Inc., which is currently undergoing a forensic audit, to receive almost $79,000 in funding for its Summer Parks and DREAM Home Buyers programs.

The funding, however, is contingent on the completion of the audit and submission of required application items no later than June 1.

Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED) senior manager Rita Pribyl said the forensic audit prevented United Neighbors from submitting the necessary documentation.

The United Neighbors programs that are recommended for assistance are not associated with the current investigation into the organization's rental assistance program.

On March 6, the Iowa Finance Authority issued a letter stating the organization's rental assistance program was not compliance with federal rules and regulations and stated it would not sent any more payments.

If United Neighbors is unable to comply with the requirements, CPED Director Bruce Berger said the funding goes through a reprogramming process so that another organization can use it.

Berger said during Tuesday's management briefing that for CBDG funding, organizations must provide the required documentation or they will not receive funding.

"An example might be the DREAM Home Buyer education," Berger said. "They've offered a course before and taught the class, but didn't have the documentation to back it up that would let us know it would pass HUD review. They didn't get reimbursed, we didn't spend those dollars."

For all grant funding, Classon said the committee meets monthly to track the progress of grants and monitor concerns "as the applicants put the funds to work for the good of the community."

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