Bloomington estimates $900K from feds for community grants, RDC OKs recommendations

At its Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) signed off on recommendations for spending $1.1 million of federal community development block grant (CDBG) money for 2022.

The recommendations came from a citizens advisory committee. The money will go to more than a dozen different non-profits—for social services and for physical improvements.

The recommendations also include money for two city departments: $140,000 to the engineering department for sidewalk improvements on Adams Street; and $110,000 to utilities for bio-retention ponds.

CDBG grants are awarded every year. After receiving $1,017,968 last year, the city is estimating that this year’s allocation will be $900,000.

But the recommendations considered by the RDC on Monday totaled $1.1 million. That’s because $200,000 of funding that was unused in previous years is being tapped this year, according to John Zody, who’s director of Bloomington’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department.

Responding to an emailed question from The B Square, Zody wrote, “When organizations don’t use their entire award, or a project doesn’t end up happening, money can remain in our overall CDBG allocations. We have been moving forward those dollars in order to meet additional need.”

The city council will still have to give its approval, which typically comes at an early spring meeting.

Under federal rules, up to 15 percent of a year’s CDBG allocation can be used for social services. For this year’s estimated $900,000, that works out to a total of $135,000. Bloomington typically maxes out the 15-percent social services allocation.

Federal rule also allow 20 percent to go towards administration of the program. Applied to $900,000 that works out to $180,000.

The social services recommendation is split evenly between emergency and non-emergency social services.

This year, if the federal funding turns out to be greater than estimated, then the additional money is to be divided evenly between the non-profits that were allocated some funding. If the federal funding turns out to be less, then the money to each non-profit will be decreased evenly.

Table: Social Services

Organization Requested Recommend
Community Kitchen $25,000 $16,875
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard $25,000 $16,875
Hoosier Hills Food Bank $25,000 $16,875
Middle Way House Domestic Violence $25,000 $16,875
Emergency Total $100,000 $67,500
Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington $25,000 $16,875
Beacon $25,000 $16,875
New Leaf-New Life – Criminal Justice Transition $25,000 $16,875
New Hope for Families $25,000 $16,875
Monroe County United Ministries $25,000 $0
My Sister’s Closet $25,000 $0
Bloominglabs $24,000 $0
City Church $12,000 $0
Non-emergency Total $186,000 $67,500

For the physical improvements, the contingency for a total grant amount that is greater or less than $900,000 is a little more complex than for social services.

For physical improvements, the first priority for additional money will be to fully fund the Bloomington Housing Authority’s solar panel project. After that, additional money will be used to fully fund the CBU water retention project. Any remaining funds would be divided between the other projects on a proportionate basis.

If the CDBG funding this year is less than estimated, then all projects will be decreased proportionately, except for the project proposed by Monroe County United Ministries to put new siding on its self-sufficiency center, and the project proposed by Tandem Community Birth Center to improve entrance access.

Table: Physical Improvements

Organization Description Requested Recommend
Summit Hill Community Development Corp (BHA) Solar panels on 2 buildings in Walnut Woods $160,000 $150,000
City of Bloomington Engineering Sidewalk improvements on Adams Street $190,000 $140,000
LifeDesigns Interior renovations of Housing Options 1 $175,976 $134,653
City of Bloomington Utilities Bio-retention ponds $150,000 $110,000
Bloomington Cooperative Living 404 W. Kirkwood $130,000 $84,500
Boys & Girls Club Safety and security upgrades at 1111 W 12th $81,405 $75,000
New Hope for Families Solar panel installation at 1140 S Madison $60,000 $60,000
Monroe County United Ministries New Siding on the Self Sufficiency Center $20,847 $20,847
Tandem Community Birth Center Improve entrance accesses and bring them up to code $10,000 $10,000
Total $978,228 $785,000

The $785,000 total for physical improvements, plus $135,000 for social services, plus $180,000 for administration, makes a total of $1.1 million in recommendations.

Expected in “late spring” is notification from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) about the actual amount of funding for Bloomington in 2022, Zody told RDC members on Monday.

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