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Monday, February 8, 2010

Do you feel entitled? You should...

Ultimately, we don't necessarily want to be an entitlement community but for the state we're in now, I welcome it with open arms. Does anyone really understand what being an entitlement community means? For starters, that $4,000 grant you got for improving your storefront, came direct from the federal government via the community block grant. This money would not have been available to us if we were not an entitlement community.

The Entitlement Grant for Lynn, MA is divided in four ways. For FY09, we saw spending in the following areas:
  • Community Block Grant ($2,488,361)
  • HOME ($976,986)
  • Emergency Shelter Grant ($111,740)
  • HOPWA ($326,00)

Let's break this down. The housing money goes to the Lynn Housing Authority and they figure out wht to do with that. I'm not sure if this includes the emergency shelter money or not. I assume the City of Lynn also puts money towards the housing problem above and beyond this, but I don't know that for sure.


HOME is money which is intended to provide affordable housing in Lynn, MA.
HOPWA is money specifically set aside for housing opportunities for individuals with HIV and AIDS.

So, that leaves the largest chunk of money, the Community Block Grant.

This grant can be targeted at several initiatives according to the hud.gov website. Here is the list:
  • 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
  • provision of assistance to profit-motivated businesses to carry out economic development and job creation/retention activities.
Almost $2.5M was spent in Lynn on these activities last year. Would you like to know how it was spent? Well you can. As part of the citizen participation process (hidden in legalize in the Lynn Item and publicized "zero" elsewhere). You can attend a meeting on March 9th, 2009 at the Lynn Housing Authority Community Room (wheelchair accessible).

I will be there this year. I hope you will join me. Let's flood that room. Together we can learn how our money was spent and together we can influence future spending of similar funds that will continue to come our way.

Where would you like to see our Block Grant spent in 2010?

-Corey

8 comments:

  1. I just called.
    Its a great program HOWEVER it is a reimbursement program. There are lots of hoops to go through.

    Which of course is imperative so people don't abuse the program.

    For me at this time it more work than its worth.

    It benefits business owners who have up to 4k to float etc. Most of the smaller businesses don't have enough to make payroll let alone money to float for signs.

    The city has designers who help you out and guide you through the process once you call them. Bilingual as well.

    Sounds good....

    ReplyDelete
  2. just when it sounded superb.

    There are many grants out there to apply for, private or government issued.

    Maybe we need the help of a non-profit organization to apply for one of these govt. grants, to then spread the funds out to the people.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know. Its not a bad deal. A savvy business owner will invest the time and have the funds to float whatever costs are needed.
    Then the businesses that need it the most won't have the funds or want to invest the time.
    Lots of businesses are behind on the rent, taxes and payroll. Ones you'd least expect it too. You need be up to date on this to apply as well as get 3 contractors to give you an estimate. Pay the contractor have the work inspected etc and then get reimbursed.
    It really cannot be done any other way nor should it, so people will not take advantage etc...
    If you hear of any grants let me know.
    I've looked for investor grants for years and most are targeted to owner occupied or for investors who are large.

    I've worked with the city on small rehab stuff about 11 years ago and they were great!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for letting us know! Admittedly, I don't always dig that deep into the paper to catch every meeting notice.

    Yet, I continue to whine about the City website's calendar listing only a portion of all the public meetings that take place. It actually lists lists fewer meetings and events than it used to.

    What time is the meeting on March 9?

    ReplyDelete
  5. 6:30 ? i'll be there.

    here's another idea.
    i own a band saw and sander.
    It's not to hard to make a sign...so in thinking..

    what if we also can get The Lynn Voc. Tech involved. it would provide wood shop projects to students.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Don't forget there are two sign shops at the end of Mt Vernon. Gary is awesome, and I have used Whitaker as well, and am now looking to improve/update signage at the gallery. Just tough because it's so low, hard for people to see. I have a lot coming up and welcome all of this advice/help, but you're right. It's a ton of work for in individual business owner to do to acquire funding that is a reimbursement.

    I too would like to know what time the meeting is being held... where do we find this?

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's at 6PM at Lynn Housing Authority - Community Room. Right across the street from the North Shore Animal Hospital. It's the same place that we downtowners vote.

    ReplyDelete

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