The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program was established by the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended. The Act consolidated previously existing categorical grant programs into a single block grant which is awarded to eligible localities throughout the states and also the insular areas, based on a formula allocation.
CDBG is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The VIHFA administers the program locally. CDBG has as its primary objective the development of viable urban communities through the provision of decent housing, suitable living environment, and expanded economic opportunities.
CDBG funds are sub-awarded to non-profit and governmental entities to carry out various programs and projects that primarily benefit low-to-moderate income persons. Each funded project must meet at least one National Objective as follows: (I) prevention or elimination of slums and blight; (II) address an urgent need; and (III) primary benefit to persons of low and moderate income. Benefit to low/mod income persons is where either (1) at least 51% of the area residents are low-income as established by the census map or, (2) the activity benefits a population which is generally presumed by HUD to be low-income, or (3) housing is created that will be restricted to occupancy by households meeting the federal low-income definition, or (4) jobs are created/retained and at least 51% of the jobs will be held by or available to low/mod income residents.
The Territory typically receives an allocation of approximately $1.9M annually. VIHFA is allowed to use up to 20% of the annual allocation program administration expenses. No more than 15% of the grant allocation can be dedicated to public service projects such as after-school programs; the remaining funds must be used for “brick and mortar” projects.
A solicitation for proposals is conducted once a year. Applications are generally made available for distribution at VIHFA’s offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix in early January. Notices are published in the local newspapers and electronic media announcing the availability of applications as well as the date(s) of any planned orientation sessions. Applications must be submitted by the published due date in order to be considered for funding.
In order to be eligible for funding, the project or program must meet at least one of the National Objectives as follows:
- Elimination of slums and blight (including historic restoration to remove conditions that threaten health and safety)
- Elimination or amelioration of situations that threaten health and safety which came into existence not more than 18 months prior to seeking CDBG funds
- Provision of employment or other benefits primarily to persons of low and moderate income
- Clearance, demolition, and removal of a building and/or improvements
- Construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation of community facilities, residential or non-residential buildings, or industrial buildings
- Infrastructure repairs or improvements
- Removal of architectural barriers
- Planning & survey (also architectural costs)
- Provision of public services (e.g., after-school programs, soup kitchens, substance abuse services, recreational activities, crime prevention services)
For more information or questions regarding the CDBG Program, please contact Jennifer Jones, CDBG Program Manager at (340) 772-4432 ext. 2242 in St. Thomas or Samalia Wyllis, Associate Planner I at (340) 772-4432 ext. 2220 on St. Croix.