TRENTON, N.J. – Mayor Reed Gusciora, Greater Trenton, Inc., and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) have reached an agreement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to repay HUD the final installment of the City’s three year Voluntary Grant Reduction. The City now expects to receive the full amount of Community Development Block Grant funds for the 2018 fiscal year.
“It’s been a priority of mine since taking office to ensure that we correct years of mismanagement and make sure Trenton receives the full CDBG funding it deserves,” said Gusciora. “We worked closely with HUD to make significant changes in the way the City administers the Community Development Block Grant Program. The City has made great strides in clearing special grant conditions that were placed on the City by HUD. We are pleased that HUD is confident enough in the changes we’ve made to the CDBG program that they have decided to release our FY2018 funding without any special conditions. The City will receive its full 2018 allocation of $2.6 million and an additional $1.1 million in CDBG funds for a demolition program.”
“We are delighted to be working in partnership with Mayor Gusciora to strengthen neighborhoods, stimulate development and economic activity, and encourage vibrant communities to grow,” said NJHMFA Executive Director Charles A. Richman. “As our state’s capital, Trenton has a long and rich history and NJHMFA is proud to support its growth.”
"This is a great day for the city," said Greater Trenton CEO George Sowa. "These funds will be used as a supplement to advance the city, creating quality affordable housing, equity for both current and future residents of the city, and opportunities for expansion and development."
Unable to substantiate $3,322,313 in expenditures from the City’s 2007-2013 CDBG program years, due to the lack of program files and ineligible projects, the prior administration requested a voluntary grant reduction over three fiscal years (FY2016, FY2017, and FY2018) in lieu of reimbursing its CDBG program account.
On August 28, 2018, Mayor Gusciora, staff, and Councilwoman McBride attended an Informal Consultation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, DC. At this meeting, the Mayor requested HUD’s consideration of a state funded demolition program in the amount of $1,107,437 in lieu of the 2018 VGR.
Immediately upon their return from the August 28th meeting, Mayor Gusciora met with Mr. Charles Richman, Executive Director of NJHMFA, and his leadership team to discuss the possibility of earmarking funds to create a CDBG-compliant demolition program. As a result, NJHMFA accepted our proposal to use State demolition program funds – UBRP funds as the non-federal funds with which to reimburse the City’s CDBG Line of Credit in lieu of the 2018 VGR.
Under the agreement, NJHMFA recommends that $1,107,437 in Urban Blight Reduction Program (UBRP) funds be advanced to the City’s Designated Housing Sponsor, Greater Trenton, to use for demolition activities consistent with the requirements of both the CDBG program and UBRP. It is expected that approximately 45 properties will be demolished under the CDBG Demolition program.
The City continues to work with HUD to release its 2015 and 2016 CDBG funds.
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