query: HUD consolidated plan

colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist-admin at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Fri Jan 11 20:42:00 CST 2002


[ed:  thanks to Aimee, Larry, and Mike for the resources addressing 
John's query.]  

From: Lattegrrl at aol.com

Hello.  I work for HUD in the HOME program.  I've only worked 
there a short 
time, but I have some suggestions about organizing around the 
Con Plan.  
Local municipalities are required to seek community input 
regarding their 
consolidated plan.  Many jurisdictions have town meetings, but your 
role 
would best be to organize low-income citizens to participate in the 
meetings. 
 If you are a grassroots organization, I would recommend having 
one or two 
workshops before a town meeting to assist the citizens in getting 
their needs 
and message across clearly.  I find that government wants to have 
the 
solution handed to them, so just presenting issues wouldn't be that 
helpful 
unless you provided strategies along with them.  The Consolidated 
Plan is a 
document that has to be done by jurisdictions in order to receive 
federal 
money, however, the federal government has no power to analyze 
the Con Plan 
for accuracy.  The Con Plan can be used by activists to document 
when a City 
is not following through on its plan, but it can't be used to take 
money from 
that city.  Information regarding housing can be found on the 
National 
Low-Income Housing Coalition's website:  www.nlihc.org.  They 
have a very 
good report called "Out of Reach" which they publish yearly 
documenting the 
shortage of affordable housing in jurisdictions across the U.S.  I 
would also 
suggest having one or two members of your organization work with 
city 
officials to guarantee the inclusion of low-income people in the Con 
Plan 
process.

Aimee Darrow
AMDarrow at aol.com

***************************

From: Larry Yates <lyates at chej.org>

Best wishes to Utica Citizens in Action. Here are some resources 
from my
old days in housing:

1) Ed Gramlich at the Center for Community Change 
(http://www.communitychange.org/about.htm) has worked for many 
many years with communities seeking to exercise power in relation 
to CDBG funds. Call him -- he has assisted fights like yours in the 
past, and he almost certainly knows groups in your area that have 
helpful experience. His number is probably 202 342 0519, but CCC 
makes it hard to find on their website. And I don't think Ed is an e-
mail guy.  

2) On consolidated plans, when I was at the National Low Income 
Housing Coalition, we did a publication on how community groups 
were using the consolidated plan process. I don't remember the 
name of it, something about Slicing the Pie, and it may or may not 
still be available from the NLIHC. (www.nlihc.org)  

3) On any topic in housing and community development, it's usually 
worthwhile to troll through the website of the National Housing 
Institute's Shelterforce Online to see what they have. 
(http://www.nhi.org/online/index.html)  

Finally, I would say that while preparing papers for the consolidated 
plan is an interesting idea, the locality and HUD are under no 
obligation to pay any attention to them. The consolidated plan 
process can be a good vehicle for organizing and for showcasing 
issues, and you can hold the city accountable for any definite 
commitment they put in the plan.  

But you should not assume that the consolidated plan process is a 
true planning process that will bind the city to a certain course of 
action. It's more like a report to HUD, and frequently includes a lot 
of information on problems the city has no intention of taking any 
action to solve. A few years ago, I looked at a lot of consolidated 
plans. It was not at all unusual to have a plan describe the city's 
greatest needs as being for rental housing for families with children 
in communities of color, and then to describe plans for spending 
most of their CDBG money doing home repair for elderly white 
homeowners. (Not, speaking as an aging white homeowner, that we 
don't have problems too.)  

In my experience, which is a little antique by now, the key to 
making anything happen with CDBG funds and other related 
federal funds is to a) organize the strongest possible community 
group, b) know exactly what you want from the city that is program-
eligible and ask for it vigorously, and c) be ready to threaten your 
local government with significant problems because its CDBG-
funded and other HUD-funded efforts don't fit the federal 
guidelines, esp. benefit to low income people. (They almost never 
do.)  

Or to put it differently, if your community development planning 
staff and the city council don't fear you, at least a little, you 
probably aren't going to get anything out of their CDBG and 
consolidated plan process.  

Larry Yates  

**********************

From: "Mike Hodge" <mhodge at tnrc.net>

John,

Perhaps others will suggest this as well, but I would call a guy 
named Ed Gramlich at the Center for Community Change in 
Washington DC (202-342-0567).  He keeps up with various HUD 
issues and if he can't help you, he'll probably know who could.  

Good luck!

Mike Hodge




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