Today Assemblyman Wood introduced AB 325. This bill would expedite the application process for small local governments to receive grant money through the Community Development Block Grant (CBDG).
The CDBG allocates federal grants to local governments, creating a resource for communities to tackle issues specific to their city, town, or county. For larger municipal jurisdictions, the federal money goes directly to the municipal government. For smaller local jurisdictions, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) receives the federal funding and is responsible for dispersing funds to local jurisdictions based on grant applications.
AB 325 requires the HCD to respond to completed grant applications within 60 days, and if the proposal is denied the agency must explain what steps need to be taken for approval.
“Currently communities with limited resources struggle to navigate the system and benefit from this federal grant money. When our smaller municipalities are giving up and leaving federal dollars on the table because the process is so burdensome, there is something seriously wrong,” said Assemblymember Wood.
The CDBG grants awarded to local governments can be used to help develop and preserve affordable housing, to create and retain jobs and to provide services to vulnerable populations in our communities.
Wood says, “This program should be an incredible resource for the entrepreneurs and public servants in our communities to solve our most pressing issues. Smaller local governments that cannot afford to spend the time and resources navigating an unnecessarily cumbersome process need to have access to this grant money. Too many times we hear government agencies say “no”, with seemingly arbitrary requirements.” I am looking for ways to have state agencies proactively and expeditiously help communities get to “yes.”