Henry County Government offices will be closed Monday, May 27th in observance of Memorial Day.
Henry County Community Development Block Grant
On June 18, the Henry County Board of Commissioners approved a five-year Consolidated Plan (CP) and Annual Action Plan (AP) for the County’s allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The County became eligible for the funds following the 2010 Census, which revealed that Henry County has exceeded the 200,000 population threshold.
The Plans were developed over the course of many months, during which time Henry County staff and consultants with Mullin & Lonergan Associates, Inc. met with stakeholders, and held several Public Hearings to assess and prioritize the needs of this community in order to determine how best to use the funds.
Priority was given to projects that benefit low- and moderate-income and other underserved populations, as well as community development activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development, and improving community facilities and services.
Henry County received more than $4 million in requests for funding, though it had only $850,000 in CDBG funds to allocate. The FY 2012 – FY2016 CP outlines the County’s housing and community development needs and priorities over the next five years, while the FY2012 AP outlines how the County intends to expend its 2012 allocation of CDBG funds the first year. They identify housing and community development needs and priorities, as well as federal and non-federal resources reasonably expected to be made available to undertake activities identified in the proposed FY 2012-FY2016 CP. The documents also contain a list of activities to be undertaken during the FY2012 year, including the geographic distribution of activities and programs.
The allocation of funds, as outlined in the FY2012 AP is as follows:
HOUSING ACTIVITIES 39%
- Fuller Center: $140,000
- Southern Crescent Habitat for Humanity: $190,000
PUBLIC FACILITIES 26%
- Locust Grove City Hall Elevator: $60,000
- Helping in His Name (Freezer): $12,500
- Feed My People (Compressor): $5,000
- Communities in Schools (Classroom Renovations): $45,000
- Infrastructure Improvements in Low to Moderate Income Areas: $100,000
PUBLIC SERVICES 15%
- Connecting Henry (Operating Support): $23,500
- Haven House (Operating Support): $23,500
- Hands of Hope Clinic (Operating Support): $27,000
- A Friend’s House (Operating Support): $23,500
- FERST Foundation (Operating Support): $10,000
- ArtReach 180 (Operating Support): $20,000
- Program Administration, Staff, Reporting, Etc.: $170,000
Some notable projects include funds to correct flooding and drainage issues in low to moderate income areas of the County; construct an elevator for Locust Grove City Hall that will enable handicap accessibility in the building for the first time; install a larger freezer and compressor for the food ministry services that will enable them to assist more families with fresh produce; renovate classrooms for Communities in Schools to launch an early childhood education program, Bright From the Start, in Hampton, McDonough and Stockbridge (the program is already operating in Locust Grove); and expand the existing after school program ArtReach 180 to a second location right away.
In addition to a powerful list of projects that will be able to make meaningful differences in citizens’ lives in the first year, the most exciting result of the planning process has been the consortiums that have started to emerge to collaborate and work together to meet the needs of the community.
“We have resources that we didn’t know existed – and they didn’t know each other existed – that now can work together to be more efficient and effective in targeting specific needs in specific areas of the County,” said Michael Harris, Planning &Zoning Services Division Director who oversaw the CDBG process this first year.
The approved documents have now been sent to HUD for a 45-day review period. Henry County expects to be able to begin drawing down funds for disbursement in August. Henry County is also in the process of hiring a coordinator to handle all CDBG duties, after which time it will begin meeting with the named subrecipients to discuss guidelines and policies and reporting requirements of HUD.
“I’m pleased we were able to get things resolved on time this year,” explained Harris. “The fact that we were able to establish an Annual Action Plan in such a short time speaks to our ability as a community to work together to identify needs and the programs that best meet those needs.”
The County expects to begin rolling out an application process for subsequent years of the CDBG program.
“This year being our first year, the process was rather abbreviated,” said Harris. “The process will be far more formal in the future.”