Attention Readers
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, C & G Newspapers has temporarily suspended its print publications. We look forward to resuming our print operation in the coming weeks. In the meantime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter. We hope you stay healthy and safe.

City approves block grant fund allocation plan

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 17, 2016

 At an April 5 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to approve a one-year action plan to allocate more than $700,000 in federal block grant money.

At an April 5 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to approve a one-year action plan to allocate more than $700,000 in federal block grant money.

Shutterstock image

Advertisement

After more than four decades of participation in the Community Development Block Grant program, Sterling Heights’ reported plan for the 2016-17 fiscal year shows another slight increase in federal aid that can be used to assist community agencies, building projects and more.

At an April 5 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, the council unanimously voted to approve a one-year action plan to allocate more than $700,000 in federal block grant money. The action plan comes courtesy of a local citizens advisory committee, and the City Council approved the action plan without comment.

According to City Development Director Denice Gerstenberg, the city is receiving about 2 percent more in CDBG funds over last year. The total for the 2016-17 fiscal year amounts to $736,837, city officials said.

“As you know, CDBG is a federal program that provides eligible communities with funds that can be used to revitalize neighborhoods, expand affordable housing, and improve community facilities for low- and moderate-income persons,” she said.

According to Gerstenberg, the advisory committee recommended which community groups are to receive money based on those groups’ requests, ability to answer questions and past compliance with guidelines.

“They consider how many residents will benefit from the program,” she explained.

Of the total block grant money provided, city officials said the city may allocate 20 percent, or around $147,000, toward administration costs.
Another 15 percent, or around $111,000, has to go toward public services. Groups that are listed to get funding include Wigs 4 Kids, the Macomb Homeless Coalition, the Macomb County Rotating Emergency Shelter Team, The Salvation Army’s Macomb’s Answer to Temporary Shelter, Turning Point, Care House, the Macomb County Warming Center and the Ray of Hope Day Center, and Hope Center in Macomb.

The remaining 65 percent can be spent on capital projects, Gerstenberg said. Capital project funds, amounting to around $479,000, will help pay for projects such as replacing concrete on Arlingdale Drive, which is located south of 17 Mile Road and east of Dequindre Road. In addition, the capital funds will pay for code enforcement in eligible locations, as well as a minor home repair program for qualified seniors and disabled people. The home repair program is listed to receive around $15,000.

A combined estimate of $67,000 will pay for lighting and technology improvements to the Sterling Heights Senior Center, according to a breakdown of the capital project funds.

Jason Groth, from the Sterling Heights Public Library, said the library uses CDBG funds toward a City Library Book Collection initiative, which provides books to senior residences or to homebound people who cannot otherwise go to the library. In the latest action plan, that initiative is set to receive $6,025.

“All of the funds from the library go to support our outreach program,” Groth said. “We drop off a large amount of books. … We purchase large-print books and audiobooks with the CDBG funds.”

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

Advertisement