Bloomington redev commission gives initial OK for $660K to 9 nonprofits in special CDBG funding round

At its regular Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission gave its approval of federal Community Development Block Grant awards totaling $660,602 to nine local nonprofits.

It was a special funding round to address impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The requirement of a COVID-19 connection led to the recommendation of a three-member committee against funding some of the projects of five other applicants, according to John Zody, director of Bloomington’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department.

The total amount awarded worked out to about half of the $1.3 million that was requested.

Of the nine applicants that received recommendations for funding, seven received the full amount requested.

Receiving most, but not all of their requested funding, were the non-profits asking for the most in grant funding. Beacon, Inc. was recommended to receive $100,803 (96 percent) of its $105,000 request. And Pantry 279 was recommended to receive $232,180 (81 percent) of its $286,780 request.

The amount of extra CDBG funding that was available from the feds in this round was $709,643.70. The difference between the amount awarded to the nonprofits on Monday and the available amount was the $49,041.50 recommended by the committee to go towards administration of the program.

This is the second round of extra funding that has been awarded through HUD’s CDBG program as a result of the pandemic. Bloomington’s earlier allocation, for which the RDC approved allocations to nonprofits in October 2020, totaled $253,862.

Responding to a question from RDC board member David Walters, Zody said the three-person committee making the recommendations was made up of: Beverly Calender-Anderson, who’s director of the city’s community and family resources department; Susan Sandberg, who serves as one of the at-large representatives to the city council; and Doris Sims, who was Zody’s predecessor as HAND director.

Zody laid out for RDC members the process that’s still ahead to make the awards final. It includes the need to amend Bloomington’s consolidated plan for CDBG funding, which will include the awards approved on Monday. That amendment will get a vote by the RDC at its Aug. 2 meeting.

Zody said commissioners would be notified at the RDC’s Aug. 2 meeting, about any public comment that had been received on the new awards in the consolidated plan. The timeframe for people to submit formal comments on the awards is shortened for the special funding round to a five-day period.

The usual CDBG process allows 30 days for comment, Zody said. About the five-day period, Zody said, “This timeline is very quick.”

RDC president Nick Kappas scrutinized the five-day window, asking if it might be possible to extend it to 10 days. In his remarks responding to Kappas, Zody pointed to the need to submit everything to HUD in its final form by Aug. 16.

Zody also noted that the publicity about applications for this round of awards included their announcement at a June press conference.

Table: July 19, 2021 Bloomington RDC approved CDBG funding awards

Organization Request Awarded
Pantry 279: Staffing for pantry program and food service support for individuals impacted by COVID $286,780 $232,180
Beacon, Inc.: Rental and utility assistance for those at-risk due to COVID $105,000 $100,803
Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington: Staffing needs for the Ferguson Crestmont Club $100,000 $100,000
Bloomington Housing Authority: Staffing needs to support navigation for Emergency Housing Voucher recipients $60,000 $60,000
New Hope for Families: Case management for family shelter diversion and aftercare $60,000 $60,000
Community Justice & Mediation Center (CJAM): Mediation and Project Management Services $47,778 $47,778
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard:
Staffing for food pantry
$25,000 $25,000
Monroe County United Ministries:
Compass Early Learning Center staffing
$20,842 $20,841
Middle Way House:
Staffing needs for New Wings Shelter
$14,000 $14,000
Five other applicants $612,687 $0
Total $1,332,087 $660,602