Grants for Local Organizations

CDBG-CV Round 3

The City of Columbia Housing and Community Development Commission is requesting proposals from local qualified non-profit organizations to access $737,588 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding (CDBG-CV) passed by Congress on March 27, 2020.  Funds must be used for the exclusive purposes of preparing, preventing or responding to the impacts of COVID-19.  Eligible activities include rent/mortgage/utility assistance, food security, homelessness, education and childcare access and vocational training. CDBG-CV funds may be used for needs not fully served by other federal, state or local funding source allocated for similar purposes.  CDBG-CV funding allocated must be non-duplicative of any other federal, state or local funding source for the agencies current operations.  

-November 20, 2020: Release RFP
-November 24, 2020: RFP Information Meeting for Interested Non-profits
-December 11, 2020: Proposals Due 11:59 pm
-December 16, 2020: Housing and Community Development Commission Funding Allocations Meeting

Purpose of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Programs

The Community Development Block Grant program provides funding to address local housing and community development needs.  The City of Columbia uses CDBG funding primarily to rehabilitate and upgrade substandard housing, improve public facilities and infrastructure in low- income neighborhoods, and improve community facilities owned by non- profit organizations serving low- income households and individuals.  Funds must be used to benefit low- and moderate-income households. The HOME program provides financing for the rehabilitation or new construction of owner and rental housing, homeownership assistance, or tenant-based rental assistance. This application can be used to request funding for any CDBG or HOME eligible activity.  

Each activity to be carried out with CDBG or HOME funds must meet eligibility criteria established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The City reserves the right to determine the best funding source for each application. All applications considered complete will be considered for funding provided the application addresses preliminary priority needs identified in the City’s 2015 – 2019 Consolidated Plan document.

Funding Categories and Award

The City of Columbia provides funds to eligible CDBG and HOME activities including: community facilities, public services, economic development, housing, and public improvements.  The Community Development Commission (CDC) determines annual funding award recommendations for City Council. CDC funding recommendations are determined according to competitive rating criteria.

CDBG Funding Categories

CDBG Housing Category: Includes projects to acquire, replace and improve housing units for lower income City residents, or that address spot cases of slums and blight.  Priority is given to owner-occupied properties. Examples of projects may include the rehabilitation of private and public residential properties, home repairs, land acquisition, demolition and hazardous materials removal.  

Community Facilities are projects to acquire, build, establish and improve community facilities that benefit lower income city residents or that eliminate a spot case of slums or blight.  Facilities shall be non-residential, open to the general public and may be publicly or privately owned. Examples of facilities may include homeless facilities, youth centers, childcare centers, and centers for the disabled, and recreation facilities.

Public Improvements are projects to acquire, build and improve public infrastructure that benefit lower income areas of the City; or that eliminate a spot case of slums and blight.  Projects shall be publicly owned. Examples of projects may include parks, toxic waste cleanups, sanitary and storm sewers, streets and street accessories, bridges, sidewalks, street lighting, waterlines and railroad crossings.

Public Services must benefit lower income City residents.  Public Services shall not duplicate eligible activities for existing city-funded health or social services.  The City’s Consolidated Plan for 2015 – 2019 limits public services to the following activities: micro lending, economic development, legal services, employment training, crime awareness, fair housing activities, tenant-landlord counseling.  Applicants should contact the Community Development Department to determine the appropriate funding source for any public service activity.

Economic Development activities include job training, micro-enterprise programs, infrastructure development, and renovation of historically significant buildings.    

HOME Funding Categories

HOME funding can be used for eligible activities for housing development organizations that have as one of their purposes the construction of affordable housing as indicated in their Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws.  Projects submitted must be found to be a priority consistent with priorities identified in the formulation of the City’s Consolidated Plan. The CDC will determine if the application is consistent with needs identified during the formulation of the City’s 2015 – 2019 Consolidated Plan.  The applicant’s narrative should specifically identify the priority needs addressed and the market conditions which exist that suggest a need for the project proposed.

Construction or Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing for Owner Occupants includes: lot acquisition, new construction, site preparation, rehabilitation or any other activities necessary to provide affordable housing, including soft costs, housing inspections, etc.  General administrative costs are not an eligible activity; however, an organization can include a developer fee, not to exceed 15% of the sale price of the housing, as part of the project cost.  The developer fee must come from proceeds of a home sale and cannot be provided directly through the use of HOME funds. Housing can be vacant or occupied before rehabilitation. Housing produced must meet required property standards, including compliance with City building and occupancy codes upon completion of construction; therefore, a minor home repair program that does not completely rehabilitate a dwelling would not be an eligible activity under this category.  All newly constructed housing must be certified to meet current IECC energy efficiency requirements. Housing infrastructure on public property is not eligible for HOME funding. The minimum per unit project cost is $1,000. Income requirements are the same as those provided for the CDBG program.

Construction or Rehabilitation of Affordable Rental Housing:  Eligible Costs are similar to those listed for owner occupied housing.  Additional requirements apply which limit tenant incomes to 60% of the median income; limit rents to fair market rents or HOME published rents, whichever is less; and require units to meet the City’s Property Maintenance Code during a period of affordability.  For newly constructed rental units the period of affordability is 20 years; while for rehabilitated units, the period would range from five to 15 years, depending upon the amount of HOME funding invested in the property. During the period of affordability, affordability restrictions cannot be subordinated to other financing.  

Methods to Prove Beneficiary Eligibility

In accordance with the criteria below, check off the method of meeting the national objective of benefiting low to moderate income persons or households.  Income determinations are based on persons benefiting rather than households.

Proof of income – Proof of income is required for all project beneficiaries who benefit directly from the activity.  This would include all cases where a check is written directly to the project beneficiary. Proof of income generally involves an application signed by the beneficiary and supporting income verification from a third party that is supplied by the beneficiary or the employer of the beneficiary.

Survey of beneficiaries – A survey of beneficiaries is allowed where the project occurs at a community facility or is a service that is available to an identified group of persons.  Copies of survey forms that can be used are attached to this application. All persons that use the facility or service must be surveyed.

Exclusive use beneficiaries – For certain groups of limited clientele, homeless, abused children, elderly, battered spouses, severely disabled, illiterate adults, persons living with AIDS, and migrant farm workers; who exclusively use the facility or service, there is no requirement to document low to moderate income benefit other than to document that no other persons other than the identified groups use the facility.  For example, an emergency homeless shelter would meet this criterion.

Census data – For projects that benefit persons indirectly that live in a lower income Census Block Group, or can otherwise be proven, using Census data, to benefit 51% low to moderate income persons within a geographical area; the applicant should contact the Community Development Department to determine the eligibility of the project area using Census data.