Citing concerns with pending Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules tied to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners voted to end a 13-year run as a CDBG entitlement community effective with the 2016 program year.
This decision comes after years of fighting for Congressional action in Washington, D.C., as well as meeting with and submitting formal comments to HUD regarding what the Board of County Commissioners refer to as “unreasonable, unachievable, ill-conceived, rules attached to CDBG funding.”
“For years we’ve been fighting along-side like-minded members of our Colorado Congressional delegation, as well as other members of Congress nationwide on this over-reach by the Federal Government,” said County Commissioner and Board Chair David Weaver. “We articulated our concerns directly with HUD officials, fought to be heard on the record and as part of Congressional testimony…… and could not change the course,” stated Weaver.
“We heard from and worked with members of our community concerning the potential impact of receiving these federal dollars from HUD and we share their concerns,” stated Roger Partridge. “Douglas County is wholeheartedly committed to meeting the full intent of the Fair Housing Act. My principal concern moving forward is with the assertiveness of the present rule and the potential that it can prevent us from being compliant with the Fair Housing Act regardless of our desired intent,” said Partridge.
“This federal agency is practically reinterpreting and changing the intent of the Fair Housing Act,” stated Commissioner Jill Repella. “I have significant concern with the new assessment tool that is in play right now. We need to continue to work with our Congressional delegation and fight this battle, said Repella.”
Recognizing the impact of the Board’s decision on applicants for the CDBG funds, Commissioner Jill Repella offered a motion requesting a work session with staff aimed at evaluating grant applicants’ 2016 CDBG funding requests and exploring alternative funding approaches. “This County has been very proactive and creative in partnering with community organizations consistent with furthering our Community Services Board Goal,” said Repella.
This Board Goal requires that the County ensure conditions exist so that county programs and public/private partnerships foster an effective safety net for the basic needs of qualified residents, and that basic and essential services exist that provide people the opportunity to be self-sufficient.