PY2019 to PY2024 Consolidated Plan

ES-05 Executive Summary - 24 CFR 91.200(c), 91.220(b)

  1. Introduction

    The City of Reading, Pennsylvania has prepared a Five Year Strategic Plan in order to successfully implement federal programs that fund housing as well as community and economic development activities. Recognizing the need for more efficiency and effectiveness of the various HUD and non-HUD programs currently in use, the City of Reading has undertaken an effort to increase cooperation between the City and a broad range of public and private agencies. This cooperation focuses on the pooling of resources through a collaborative planning process for the application and use of federal entitlement funds available through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. The City of Reading will submit this 5 Year Strategic Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

    The Five Year CP will serve the following functions.

    • A planning document that enables the City to view its HUD funding as a tool in a comprehensive strategy to address housing, community development, and economic development needs.
    • An application for CDBG, HOME and ESG Programs funds.
    • A strategy document to be followed in carrying out HUD programs.

    An action plan that provides a basis for assessing performance in carrying out use of CDBG, HOME and ESG Program funds.

  2. Summary of the objectives and outcomes identified in the Plan Needs Assessment Overview

    The federal funds made available to the City through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) Program, and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program, will be used over the next five years to address the needs outlined in the Strategic Plan. The three overarching objectives guiding the proposed activities are: Providing Decent Affordable Housing, Creating Suitable Living Environments, and Creating Economic Opportunities. Outcomes show how programs and activities benefit a community and/or the people served. The three outcomes that will illustrate the benefits of each activity funded by the CDBG program are: Improve Availability/Accessibility, Improve Affordability, and Improve Sustainability. All future activities funded in the next five years will support at least one objective and one outcome. The framework for realizing the objective and outcomes include the following goals: provision of decent, affordable housing; increase homeownership; provision of a suitable living environment; expansion of economic opportunities; and support city-wide efforts to end homelessness. The following are the goals for housing, community development, homeless and special needs, and public and assisted housing: Provide rehabilitation assistance for both owner and renter occupied housing; stabilize housing through concentrated code enforcement in targeted areas; support development of housing by private investment and non-profit organizations; develop rental housing; develop housing facilities for special needs and very low income and low income renters; provide down payment and closing cost assistance for low and moderate-income homebuyers; leverage local funding for facilities for youth, downtown business districts, sidewalk, street, water, sewer and drainage improvements; continue to support a wide range of public services; assist private and non-profit developers leverage other public and private funding to develop permanent supportive housing; support the Public Housing Authorities in the expansion of the Section 8 Voucher program; continue to support the use of Capital Funds and Public Housing Modernization funds to maintain and modernize the public Housing stock; and support resident services to encourage independent living.

  3. Evaluation of past performance

    Despite continuing decreased funding from Congress, the City has continued to use federal entitlement funds for the benefit of its citizens. Fewer and fewer dollars have required the City to evaluate its use of these funds and ensure they are being spent in the most productive manner and for projects that serve an increased number of residents.

    Due to the unforeseen federal entitlement funding cuts, increased regulation, and decreased participation by private and non-profit organizations, the City of Reading has not been able to accomplish all of the goals set forth in the previous five year Consolidated Plan.

  4. Summary of citizen participation process and consultation process

    The development of the 2019-2023 Plan is built upon a number of other studies, plans, and reports that been prepared over the past year, including: City-wide Needs Assessment, 2007/2008 United Way Community Issues and Outcomes, 2008-2011, City of Reading Comprehensive Plan 2015, Berks Coalition to End Homelessness: Plan to End Homelessness, Berks County Continuum of Care application. Input was sought from City residents and organizations and two public hearings were held. Agencies were notified of the public hearings and an announcement was made in the Reading Eagle.

  5. Summary of public comments

    Stephen Geiringer, Neighborhood Housing Services Executive Director commented on the Reading’s needs and described NHS’s various activities. He went on to add that he would like to expand programs and to collaborate with other non-profit agencies.

    Stephen Geiringer, Neighborhood Housing Services Executive Director, commented that NHS plans to purchase four houses in 2019, their goal is to acquire and rehab six houses per year, and that they have applied for City funding for housing rehab, CHDO Set Aside, and HOP activities. NHS would like the City Codes to do pre-settlement rather than post settlement inspections. They also plans to do 35 Major System Rehab’s for senior citizens so that they may age in place.

    Tim Daley, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director, commented that Habitat is partnering with NHS and is working on the Buttonwood Gateway Area housing development. Habitat also plans to undertake affordable housing efforts working with other agencies in providing health care, education, and employment services.

    Angel Torres, Consumer Action Group, asked if the City could consider installing new sidewalks to make it easier for persons with disabilities.

    Ralph Johnson City of Reading Public Works Director asked Community Development staff for the definition of median income.

  6. Summary of comments or views not accepted and the reasons for not accepting them

    All comments and views received were accepted.

  7. Summary

    The Five Year Consolidated Plan will serve the following functions: As a planning document that enables the City to view its HUD funding as a tool in a comprehensive strategy to address housing, community development, and economic development needs; an application for CDBG, HOME and ESG Programs funds; a strategy document to be followed for the purpose of implementing HUD programs; an action plan that provides a basis for assessing performance in the use of CDBG, HOME, and ESG Program funds.