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State College Borough Council OKs Plan for HUD Funds

by on November 06, 2018 11:54 AM

State College Borough Council on Monday approved an annual Consolidated Action Plan for anticipated funds from two U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs for 2019.

Communities receiving Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Programs funds are required to submit an annual action plan for activities to be undertaken with those funds.

Because a definite federal budget has not yet been set for the CDBG and HOME programs, the borough estimated budgets based on 2018 allocations. For CDBG -- which provides funding on a formula basis for housing, living environment and economic opportunity improvements -- State College estimates a 2019 allocation of $536,621, the same amount received for the current year.

A total of $80,493 of that is budgeted for public service activities:

- $30,206 is allocated to Centre Safe (formerly the Centre County Women's Resource) for its shelter staffing program;

- $17,374 for the Housing Transitions, Inc. Employment and Housing Services Program;

- $9,688 for the Burrowes Street Youth Haven’s shelter staffing program;

- $17,884 to House of Care’s staffing Program;

- $5,341 to Youth Service Bureau Independent Living Program’s operations.  

For public facilities and improvements, $250,000 is budgeted for streetlight and ADA curb improvements on Sowers and Hetzel streets between East College and East Beaver avenues and Foster Avenue between South Allen and South Pugh Streets.

For housing, $98,803.80 is divided between two programs: $49,401.90 for the borough's First-Time Homebuyer Program and the same amount for the Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program. A total of $107,324.20 is budgeted for administration and planning.

HOME funds -- which provide formula grants for affordable housing and low-income housing assistance initiatives -- also are estimated to remain level at $589,983:

- $389,605.44 is budgeted for the Temporary Housing Foundation Rental Rehabilitation Program;

- $111,880.12  for the State College Community Land Trust Homebuyer Program;

- $29,499.14 divided equally for operations support of THF and SCCLT, the borough's Community Housing Development Organization partners;

- $60,541.42 for program administration.

If the CDBG and HOME funds are greater or less than estimated, allocations will be adjusted proportionally.

Council approved the action plan unanimously and without discussion. The plan was reviewed by 34 agencies and organizations and the Centre Region Planning Agency. 

In other business:

Council unanimously approved, at the request of the Downtown State College Improvement District, the annual holiday parking program for downtown. As in past years, free parking validation for municipal parking garages will be provided by downtown merchants to customers from Nov. 26 to Jan. 1. During that time, parking enforcement will issue up to two courtesy cards per vehicle instead of tickets for expired meters.

Parking garages and street meters will be free from Dec. 17-25.  

Council member David Brown said he heard concerns from business owners who said last year Penn State employees were parking at meters downtown during the holiday program and taking up spaces that could be used by customers.

Rob Schmidt, executive director of DSCID, said he has heard those concerns about not only Penn State employees but employees of other businesses as well using the holiday program for free parking during work hours. He said he has had discussions about potential solutions with borough parking director Rick Ward. Those may include limiting street parking to three hours but making garage parking unlimited, as well as noting the license plates of regular "culprits" and strictly enforcing restrictions. 

Schmidt also asked council to consider adopting courtesy parking at other times of year to encourage shopping and dining downtown. Council President Evan Myers said he understands there are budgetary implications, but encouraged borough staff to look into it.

Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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