Chelsea to Get Maximum Federal Block Grant Award

While Chelsea will receive the maximum federal block grant this year, it is still drastically lower than just a few years ago, and remains a program decimated by White House cuts over the last five years.

Gov. Deval Patrick has announced that 38 cities and towns across the state will receive a total of $31 million in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to support housing rehabilitation, public service projects and local infrastructure.

Chelsea is among the recipients and will receive the maximum award of $900,000 for several local initiatives. That is the same amount that the City got last year, in 2012, but it’s $100,000 less than Chelsea got in 2010 and 2011. The CDBG grant program has been cut by more than $1 billion nationwide since 2009.

Many municipal and county government advocates across the country have caused major noise in regards to the continued cuts to the program, which was instituted in 1974 and has grown to be very popular at the local levels.

Nevertheless, Gov. Patrick praised the Obama Administration and Congress for the grant

“When we invest in infrastructure projects in our communities, we put people to work and leave a better Commonwealth for the next generation,” said Governor Patrick. “We thank the Obama Administration and our Congressional delegation for their continued commitment to investing in our future.”

The CDBG program is the Commonwealth’s largest available resource for neighborhood revitalization projects and helps meet the housing and public service needs of low- and moderate-income communities while building and repairing infrastructure vital to the health and safety of all residents.  The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and funds are distributed by the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to cities and towns in Massachusetts with populations of less than 50,000.

City Manager Jay Ash says the CDBG award will allow the City and its community based partners to acquire and renovate three foreclosed units, make improvements to Bosson Park, enhance targeted code enforcement activities, continue the Centro Latino citizenship program, offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) instruction and support after-school and summer programming.

“Each program is important and together they represent a significant commitment that we can offer to residents to improve their lives and their neighborhoods.  We’re indebted to the federal government and our state officials for seeing the value of investing with us in Chelsea,” offered City Manager Jay Ash.

Ash also heaped praised on Chelsea’s federal and state legislative delegations.

“To a person, they have all taken an interest in our goals for Chelsea.  I’ve talked with Senators Warren and Markey about our particular needs, and Congressman Capuano continues to be an active partner in addressing issues and identifying resources to respond to those issues. We really couldn’t be better served than by them, and on the State level by Senator (Sal) DiDomenico and Representatives (Kathi-Ann) Reinstein and (Eugene) O’Flaherty),”concluded Ash.

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