The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides an annual grant on a formula basis to the City of Reading to develop a viable urban community by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons. HUD awards the Community Development Block Grant to the City of Reading to carry out a wide range of community development activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development, and providing improved community facilities and services.
The City of Reading develops it’s own programs and funding priorities. The City of Reading must give maximum feasible priority to activities which benefit low- and moderate-income persons. The City of Reading may also carry out activities which aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight, or to which it certifies are designed to meet other community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available to meet such needs. CDBG funds may not be used for activities which do not meet these broad national objectives.
CDBG funds may be used for activities which include, but are not limited to acquisition of real property; relocation and demolition; rehabilitation of residential and non-residential structures; construction of public facilities and improvements, such as water and sewer facilities, streets, neighborhood centers, and the conversion of school buildings for eligible purposes; public services, within certain limits; activities relating to energy conservation and renewable energy resources; and providing assistance to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job creation/retention activities.
Generally, the following types of activities are ineligible: acquisition, construction, or reconstruction of buildings for the general conduct of government; political activities; certain income payments and construction of new housing by units of general local government.
HUD determines the amount of each entitlement grant by a statutory dual formula which uses several objective measures of community needs, including the extent of poverty, population, housing overcrowding, age of housing, and population growth lag in relationship to other metropolitan areas.
To receive its annual CDBG entitlement grant, the City of Reading must develop and submit to HUD its Consolidated Plan, (which is the comprehensive planning document and application for funding under the following Community Planning and Development formula grant programs: CDBG, HOME Investment Partnerships, and Emergency Solution Grants (ESG)). In its Consolidated Plan, the City of Reading must identify its goals for these programs, as well as for housing programs. The goals will serve as the criteria against which HUD will evaluate the City of Reading’s Plan and its performance under the Plan. Also, the Consolidated Plan must include several required certifications, including the certification that not less than 70% of the CDBG funds received, over a one, two, or three year period specified by the City of Reading, will be used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and that the City of Reading will affirmatively further fair housing. HUD will approve a Consolidated Plan submission unless the Plan (or a portion of it) is inconsistent with the purposes of the National Affordable Housing Act or is substantially incomplete.  Following approval, HUD will make a full grant award unless the Secretary has made a determination that the City of Reading: (1) has failed to carry out its CDBG-assisted activities in a timely manner; (2) has failed to carry out those activities and its certifications in accordance with the requirements and the primary objectives of Title I of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, and with other applicable laws; or (3) lacks a continuing capacity to carry out its CDBG-assisted activities in a timely manner.
The City of Reading must develop and follow a detailed plan which provides for and encourages citizen participation and which emphasizes participation by persons of low- or moderate-income, particularly residents of predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, slum or blighted areas, and areas in which the City of Reading proposes to use CDBG funds. The plan must: provide citizens with reasonable and timely access to local meetings, information, and records related to the grantee’s proposed and actual use of funds; provide for public hearings to obtain citizen views and to respond to proposals and questions at all stages of the community development program, including at least the development of needs, the review of proposed activities, and the review of program performance; provide for timely written answers to written complaints and grievances; and identify how the needs of non-English speaking residents will be met in the case of public hearings where a significant number of non-English speaking residents can be reasonably expected to participate.