Community Development Block Grant

CDBG Program Highlights

Each year, the City of Pittsfield through the Department of Community Development receives Community Development Block Grant Funds (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD requires that the grant be awarded predominately to activities that meet the needs of low and moderate-income city residents and meet one of three national objectives.

The Department of Community Development must take several key steps prior to funding an activity. These steps include:

  • Determine if the proposed activity is included in the listing
  • Determine if the proposed activity falls within a category of explicitly ineligible activities 
  • Determine if the proposed activity can meet one of the three national objectives

Examples of Eligible Activities:

  • Activities Related to Real Property
  • Rehabilitation Activities
  • Activities related to Economic Development
  • Activities related to Public Services
  • Assistance to Community Based Development Organizations
  • Other Types of Activities
  • Planning and Administration
  • National Objectives
  • Ineligible Activities (section 570.207)
  • Annual Action Plan, Caper And Consolidated Plan

Activities Related to Real Property

  • Acquisition (section 570.201 (a))
  • Disposition (section 570.201 (b))
  • Public facilities and improvements (570.201 (c)) such as:
  • Acquisition, installation, construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure (water/sewer lines, streets and  sidewalks); and
  • Acquisition, construction or rehab of neighborhood facilities and facilities for persons with special needs (homeless shelters, group homes, halfway houses).
  • Clearance and demolition (section 570.201 (d))
  • Interim assistance to arrest severe deterioration of alleviate emergency conditions (570.201 (f)) – note this activity may include some specific types of services
  • Completion of urban renewal projects (section 570.201 (h)) additional information about this activity may be found at 570.800;
  • Housing services in connection with Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program activities (section 570.201 (k))
  • Privately-owned utilities (section 570.201 (l))
  • Construction of housing assisted under Section 17 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937 (section 570.201 (m))
  • Homeownership assistance (downpayment assistance, interest subsidies (section 570.201 (n))

Rehabilitation Activities

These activities are generally limited to buildings, which are residential, low-income public housing or publicly or privately owned commercial or industrial buildings.

The following types of rehabilitation activities may be undertaken:
Acquisition for rehabilitation and rehabilitation for residential purposes;

  • Labor, materials, etc. for rehabilitation for residential purposes;
  • Loans for refinancing existing secured indebtedness;
  • Energy improvements;
  • Water efficiency improvements;
  • Connection to water and sewer lines;
  • Some homeowner warranty, hazard and flood insurance premiums;
  • Testing for and abatement of lead-based paint;
  • Costs of acquiring tools to be lent for rehabilitation;
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Assistance for the rehabilitation of housing under section 17 of United States Housing Act of 1937; and
  • Removal of material and architectural barriers
  • Code Enforcement (section 570.202( c) )
  • Historic Preservation (section 570.202 (d))
  • Renovation of closed buildings (section 570-202 (e))
  • Lead-based paint testing and abatement (section 570.202 (f))

Activities related to Economic Development

The following economic development related activities are eligible under CDBG:

  • Micro enterprise assistance (section 570.201 (o)); and
  • Special economic development activities (section 570.203).

Activities related to Public Services

  • Public services are also generally eligible (section 570-201 (e))
  • Job training and employment services;
  • Health care and substance abuse services;
  • Child care;
  • Crime prevention; and
  • Fair Housing counseling

Assistance to Community Based Development Organizations

CDBG recipients may also provide grants or loans to CDBO's to carry out the following types of projects (section 570-204):

  • Neighborhood revitalization
  • Community economic development and
  • Energy conservation

Other Types of Activities

Certain other types of activities are also eligible under CDBG, including:

  • Payment of non-federal share of grants in connection with CDBG-assisted and eligible activities (section 570.201 (g));
  • Relocation assistance (section 570.210 (i));
  • Loss of rental income (related to relocation) (section 570.201 (j));
  • Technical assistance to public or nonprofit entities to increase the capacity of such entities to carry out eligible neighborhood revitalization or economic development activities (section 570-201 (p))
  • Assistance to institution of higher education with the capacity to carry out other activities (section 507.201 (q)).

Planning and Administration

It is also permissible to spend CDBG funds for planning activities (section 507-205). Such activities might include:

  • Comprehensive plans;
  • Community development plans (including Consolidate Plan);
  • Functional plans (for housing, land use and urban environmental design; economic development; open space and recreation; energy use and conservation; floodplain and wetlands management; transportation; utilities; historic preservation; etc.)
  • Other plans and studies (small area and neighborhood plans; capital improvements program plans; individual project plans; general environmental; urban environmental design; historic preservation studies; etc. and
  • Policy planning, management and capacity building activities.

Finally, within certain caps and constraints, grantees may use CDBG funds for program administration activities (section 570.206). Such activities might include:

General management, oversight and coordination;

  • Public information
  • Fair Housing activities;
  • Indirect costs;
  • Submission of applications for Federal programs; and
  • Costs to pursue Section 17 of the United States Housing Act of 1937

National Objectives

CDBG grantees are responsible for assuring that each eligible activity meets one of three national objectives:

  • Benefit to low and moderate income persons (section 570-208(a)
  • Aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight (section 579-208 (b)
  • Meet a need having a particular urgency (section 570-208 (c)

Ineligible Activities (section 570.207)

The general rule is that any activity not authorized under the CDBG regulations is ineligible to be assisted with CDBG funds.

In addition, the regulations stipulate that the following activities may not be assisted with CDBG funds:

  • General government expenses
  • Political activities
  • Religious activities
  • Buildings for the general conduct of government (city hall)
  • New housing construction except under conditions or when carried out by a CBDO; a
  • Income payments

The following activities may not be assisted with CDBG funds unless authorized as a special economic development activity or when carried out by a CDBO:

  • Purchase of construction equipment or furnishings and personal property and
  • Operating and maintenance expenses (of public facilities, improvements and services).

Annual Action Plan, Caper And Consolidated Plan

In accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations, the City must submit a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) at the end of each fiscal year and a five-year Consolidated Plan; last one completed May 15, 2020.

The Consolidated Plan is a five-year plan, which describes community needs, resources, priorities and proposed activities to be undertaken with Community Development Block Grant funds.

The CAPER report describes the progress made by the Pittsfield Department of Community Development implementation of its five-year Consolidated Plan. The performance report is for the City’s current fiscal year, which begins in July and ends in June. The report describes specifically planned projects and uses of CDBG funds. It updates HUD on budgeted programs and projects and financial information.