March 7, 2011- Mayor Michael A. Nutter and U.S. Senator Bob Casey met with Philadelphia residents and community leaders who have benefited directly from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and advocated for the U.S. Congress to preserve spending levels. John A. Garner, Jr. of the Pennsylvania League of Cities and Municipalities, Nilda Ruiz of APM, Sister Mary Scullion of Project H.O.M.E., and others joined in the appeal to preserve funding.
In late February, the 112th U.S. House of Representatives passed House Resolution (HR) 1, which includes $61 billion in spending cuts for the current fiscal year. A Mayor’s Office report released last week identified $148.9 million in potential funding cuts in Philadelphia including $36.5 million reduction to CDBG funding. CDBG funding is allocated directly by the federal government to communities for community revitalization services, blight reduction and commercial corridor investments.
“I want to thank Senator Casey for his concern and dedication to preserving CDBG funding and not cutting the federal budget on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. If HR 1 passes, it could cut Philadelphia’s CDBG funding by as much as 66 percent. This is funding for foreclosure prevention, housing and economic opportunity. We are fighting for CDBG to preserve a basic quality-of-life for Philadelphia’s residents,” said Mayor Nutter. “I want to urge Congress to act responsibly and to consider the future stability of our communities instead of trying to score political points.”
“The CDBG program has been instrumental in helping Philadelphia as well as local communities throughout Pennsylvania promote economic development, community revitalization and job creation,” said Senator Casey. “Cuts to this program right now could have a devastating effect in cities throughout Pennsylvania and across the country at a time when such economic activity is most needed.”
Senator Casey and Mayor Nutter met with community leaders, which included direct beneficiaries of CDBG funding for neighborhood development, mortgage foreclosure prevention and other services. President Obama signed a two-week, stopgap financing spending bill that will extend the federal budget deadline to March 18 while also enacting $4 billion in federal spending cuts. This bill offers only a temporary delay from the greater spending cuts detailed in HR 1.
Note–It is important to remember that CDBG funds differ from CDBG-R (Community Development Block Grant-Recovery) funds, in that CDBG-R funds were made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), whereas funds through the CDBG program existed prior to the Recovery Act and will, hopefully, continue after the Act commences. Today’s announcement deals solely with CDBG funding and not any funding awarded through CDBG-R.
For a look at how CDBG funds are leveraged in Philadelphia, click here.