NORWICH, CT – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) released new information on his efforts to assist homeowners in northeastern Connecticut with crumbling foundations. On Wednesday, Courtney met with the Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) to discuss his recent determination that federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) could be used to assist homeowners.
“As I have said before, I am committed to investigating every source of federal assistance that can be used to assist homeowners in northeastern Connecticut with crumbling foundations. Now I am working with partners on the ground in Connecticut to make sure that we can smooth the glide-path for these resources into our local towns,” said Courtney. “This is a complicated issue and no single source of funding is going to solve this entire problem. We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to this crisis and after meeting with the Capital Regions Council of Governments earlier this week – it was clear that they get it. I look forward to continuing to work closely with CRCOG as they pursue ways to address the crumbling foundations issue and seek resources, such as federal funding like the type I identified at HUD to help homeowner sand community facing this difficult challenge.”
Following his meeting with CRCOG, Courtney sent a letter following up on a number of issues discussed with association including his commitment to working with them to make the case for using HUD funding to assist homeowners. In addition, Courtney is publicly releasing a recent report he commissioned from the bipartisan Congressional Research Service which examined the process for redirecting HUD funding to help the homeowners.
Connecticut receives funds from the Small Cities CDBG and HOME programs annually. For 2016, Connecticut received about $12.2 million in Small Cities CDBG funds and $6.5 million in HOME funds not otherwise allocated to larger cities. The funds are used in a wide variety of housing and development projects throughout the state, with their distribution determined by the Connecticut Department of Housing and the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) in consultation with the Connecticut General Assembly.
On June 9, 2016, the CEOs of some of the municipalities affected by crumbling foundations set forth a series of relief measures the state could implement to respond to this challenge. An “emergency repair fund” and assessment program to organize a coherent plan for inspection, communication, and remediation were some of the constructive suggestions made. As outlined by HUD, CDBG and HOME funding could assist with execution of that plan.
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal grant program designed to provide communities with funds to implement a wide-range of development needs. The CDBG program provides annual grants on a formula basis to more than 1000 government entities across the nation.
The Small Cities CDBG program is also known as the ‘State Administered CDBG’ because the funds are awarded to state governments and then apportioned to municipalities based on a formula set by the administering state agency. In Connecticut, the funds are awarded to DOH and are distributed according to a consolidated plan which the agency has established.
The HOME Program makes grants to state and local governments to assist with implanting with strategies designed to increase homeownership and affordable housing for lower income Americans. Government entities that receive funding through the program may use it for a variety of purposes including housing rehabilitation, rental assistance, and assistance to buyers.
Most recently, Courtney led a series of federal delegation letters urging home insurance companies to join repair efforts for affected homes.