Public services can strengthen communities by addressing the needs of specific populations, and by supporting economic development. Through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the Columbus Consolidated Government can fund an array of public services, including but not limited to:
- Health care
- Job Training and workforce development
- Recreation programs
- Homebuyer counseling
- Elderly care and programs
- Homeless services
- Education programs
Within the City of Columbus, there continues to be a need for services to increase the effectiveness of physical investments that improve conditions for the elderly, youth, low-income persons, and other special populations. As identified by the City's current Consolidated Plan, these are the identified public service’s needs for Columbus:
- Expanded recreational and education programming for youth, especially STEM activities
- Entrepreneurship and employment training programs
- Emergency and employment training programs
- Emergency assistance – e.g. food, shelter, assistance with utilities and rent
- Homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention services
- Improved mental health services
- Substance abuse prevention education and rehabilitation services
Public services are an essential component to a comprehensive community development strategy. Public services activities not only provide direct benefits to those assisted, but also can serve to link other CDBG investment, such as economic development, public facilities and housing activities, together for a stronger impact.
Public Services Cap
The total amount of CDBG funds obligated for public service activities must not exceed 15 percent of the annual grant allocation plus 15 percent of program income received during the prior year. An example for how this would be calculated is as follows:
|PUBLIC SERVICE CAP CALCULATION EXAMPLE:
|CDBG ENTITLEMENT GRANT AMOUNT
|PLUS, PROGRAM INCOME (PRIOR YEAR)
|EQUALS AMOUNT SUBJECT TO CAP
|MULTIPLIED BY 15%
|EQUALS MAXIMUM FUNDS THAT CAN BE OBLIGATED FOR PUBLIC SERVICES:
Given the 15% funding cap limitations, making the most of public services dollars is important to improve quality of life and promote social and economic stability, having a lasting impact on direct beneficiaries and the community as a whole.
Certain activities are not eligible for CDBG Public service funding. They include:
- Funding for activities already provided by a city or state, ongoing funding for municipal services, and direct payments to individuals (payments must go directly to service providers).
- Continuous payments or non-emergency payments for more than 3 consecutive months, such as ongoing rent subsidies or heating bills.
- Political or religious activities such as campaigning for legislative reform or for activities that include religious worship, instruction, or counseling.
How to Apply?
Qualified organizations that are interested in providing public services with CDBG funds will need to fill out the public services application. Annually the Columbus Consolidated Government, Community Reinvestment Department provides a Request for Proposal (RFP) to invite non-profit organizations and affordable housing developers to submit proposals for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Home Investment Partnership Program Funding allocated from the Federal Government Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The RFP is announced annually in January, the announcement will be in the local newspapers, City of Columbus website (www.columbusga.gov), department website (www.columbusga.gov/communityreinvestment), department Facebook page (CCG Community Reinvestment), and the City of Columbus local TV channel (CCGTV).
The Community Reinvestment Department provides applicants (non-profits and affordable housing developers) an opportunity to complete program applications during the month of January thru mid-March of each year. The applications are selected through a process of an evaluation of the organizational capacity, solid and structured well written information provided in comparison to the needs outlined in the City of Columbus Five Year Consolidated Plan and Action Plans.