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Communities Coping With Fewer Federal Grant Dollars

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     Cities all over are seeing less federal grant money coming in in recent years and having to make tough decisions about how to divide up what they do get. That has one Quad Cities community going back to the drawing board.

     Nationally, Community Development Block Grants, or CDBG, have been on a steady decline as far at the amount going to communities. From about $5 billion dollars in 2002 to about $3.8 billion in 2012. In Davenport, for example, that's meant grant money coming in dwindling from $2.2 million in 2002 to the $1.2 which the city expects this year. Less funding coming in means less to go out to organizations which you or someone you know may utilize.

    CASI is one Davenport organization that could be seeing a steep loss of CDBG funding after already seeing a steady decline in recent years. Officials say it's been a close to 75% drop in the last decade.

    "We have a large population that has a potential of falling through the cracks if we are not careful and thoughtful in how we're allocating those dollars," said CASI President and CEO Laura Kopp.

     It's being felt in a lot of communities and it all depends on what the federal government can allocate. "Unfortunately that money has been drying up. Congress has decided these people don't need as much so every year they seem to be cutting it back," said Alderman Bill Boom.

     The amount each area gets depends on things like poverty level and population growth lag. This year, Davenport is going to get about $1.2 million which is close to $100,000 less than expected. A task force of volunteers recommends to council where the money should go and now plans to re-evaluate how to divide up fewer funds.

     "These organizations present their programs, they're scored and they have a system they've created," said Boom.

     Most services that benefit from these grants will feel the pinch, but the hope is for careful consideration on where it would hurt the most.

     "Every single dollar we bring into CASI is depended upon to provide services to seniors. There's no dollar that goes to waste," said Kopp.

     CDBG funding is issued through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Beyond local organizations, a lot of money goes to administrative costs for cities, housing, public improvements, and economic development.


 

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