Since fiscal year 2006, the has participated in the Community Development Block Grant program. The grant is administered through St. Louis County, and the one that the city chooses is a home improvement program. The wait list for the program is two years, and the city must have a public hearing as part of the grant process.
Nikki Koehnemann, assistant to the city administrator, addressed questions during the public hearing segment of Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting. There are five different areas available to choose from, and the city has again chosen a low to moderate direct income benefit for the rehabilitation for private properties.
Up to five eligible residents of the City of Crestwood can receive five-year forgivable loans, with 20 percent a year forgiven if they stay in the home for the five years. The maximum amount of the grant is up to $5,000 per resident. Eligibility includes benefiting low and moderate income residents; eliminating slums and blight and alleviating urgent, serious and critical community needs.
If the county determines that the resident meets the income requirements and the project is eligible, the resident obtains two bids, awarding the project to the lowest bidder. After completion of the project, the county distributes the funds directly to the contractor.
“This is strictly money from the county. The only thing that the city (of Crestwood) is required to do is go through the application process. There is no connection with the funds themselves,” Koehnemann said.
Eligible activities outlined in the public hearing handout that each Board meeting attendee received included acquisition by the recipient or other public or private nonprofit entity; public facilities and improvements; clearance activities such as removal of buildings or movement of structures to other sites; provision of public services like fair housing counseling or homebuyer down payment assistance (must be a new service or a quantifiable increase in the level of an existing service); interim assistance like repair or special neighborhood cleanup campaigns; and privately owned utilities.
Types of buildings and improvements eligible included privately owned buildings, low-income public housing, publicly or privately owned commercial or industrial buildings and nonprofit owned nonresidential buildings.
The city’s application deadline is June 25 for fiscal year 2013. The entire amount, $23,400, was approved 7-1 by the Board (Alderman Tim Trueblood opposed).