The Community Development division is responsible for coordinating community development and revitalization activities, primarily in low-moderate income areas of Baytown. The goal of the Community Development Division is to improve the quality of life for Baytown’s low to moderate-income residents and neighborhoods. The City of Baytown provides a wide range of services including housing, code enforcement, infrastructure improvements, and social services. Primary funding comes from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Other funding comes from the City of Baytown’s General Fund, CDBG Recovery Act Funds, and Harris County for transportation. The City of Baytown receives approximately $600,000 annually from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to implement programs and projects within the city limits. The main purpose of these funds is to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for low-moderate income persons.
The City of Baytown is also required to further policies of the Fair Housing Act by actively promoting wider housing opportunities for all persons while maintaining a nondiscriminatory environment in public and private housing markets. The Community Development Division is responsible for developing an Analysis of Impediments and Fair Housing Plan. This plan will encourage activities that promote fair housing practices. The goal is to prohibit discriminatory housing practices based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap within the community.
To receive certain CDBG funds, all jurisdictions must have an approved Consolidated Plan. The City of Baytown completed the Consolidated Plan in August 2010 that covers fiscal years 2010-2014. This Plan is mandated by HUD to determine how the City will use Community Development Block Grant funds for the next five (5) years. The Consolidated Plan addresses housing, social services, infrastructure, and community revitalization needs in Baytown. It also develops the goals and objectives that the City will fund and/or support in relationship to low to moderate-income persons and areas.
Annually, the City develops an Action Plan based on the strategies and goals of the Consolidated Plan. The Action Plan is a one-year planning document that describes the amount of CDBG funding available and the proposed use of those funds for the upcoming fiscal year. Specifically, the Action Plan describes the activities that will be undertaken and the funding amounts for each activity. Typical activities in Baytown include park improvements, housing rehabilitation, homebuyers’ assistance, code enforcement, and senior and youth services. The City of Baytown’s Community Development Programs in the current Action Plan began on October 1, 2013 through September 30, 2014.
The Community Development Division solicits Requests for Proposals for funding from the public in the early Spring of each year for the upcoming fiscal year. Non-profit, for-profit, government, or other organizations that provide community improvements, economic opportunities, and/or services to assist local residents within the city limits of Baytown should consider applying.
Through a competitive application process, the division is responsible for distributing funds for eligible programs and projects. All requests received are reviewed by staff and subsequently submitted to the City Council-appointed members of the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC). This is a nine-member citizen committee that conducts public hearings and develops a grant award recommendation for City Council. City Council considers the recommendation and makes the final decision on who will be granted funds to include in the Action Plan. Eligible activities and projects are defined by HUD. All projects must meet the main purpose of CDBG. A description of eligible activities is also located in CDBG regulations 24CFR 570. Following is a brief list.
CDBG General Projects:
- Acquisition of real property
- Public facilities construction
- Infrastructure construction/ improvements
- Clearance and demolition
- Neighborhood projects
- Removal of architectural barriers for accessibility
- Housing rehabilitation/reconstruction
- Assistance to institutions of higher education
- Code enforcement
- Historic preservation
- Planning and program administration (20% cap)
- Homeownership assistance
- Planning and capacity building for non-profits
- Economic development
CDBG Public Services:
· Child care
· Health care services
· Job training programs
· Recreational programs
· Educational programs
· Public safety services
· Services for senior citizens/disabled
· Services for homeless persons
· Drug abuse counseling and treatment
· Services for youth
Total public service budget must not exceed 15% of Baytown’s annual funds. Public services do not include political activities or ongoing welfare payments to individuals for their food, clothing, rent, utilities, or other income payments.
To be eligible for CDBG funding, an activity must meet one of the following three national objectives. This requires that each activity, except for administration and planning activities, meet qualifications for one of the following:
1. Benefit at least 51% low- and moderate-income persons (70% of the City of Baytown’s total CDBG grant expenditures must benefit low and moderate-income persons).
2. Aid in the prevention or elimination of slum or blight conditions.
3. Meet other community development needs, having a particular urgency, because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community and other financial resources are not available to meet such needs.
Activities Benefiting Low / Moderate Income PersonsThe City of Baytown’s CDBG program focuses primarily on activities that meet the first national objective, that of benefiting low- and moderate-income persons. Agencies considering activities that might qualify under the other two objectives should contact the City’s Community Development Staff prior to submitting a proposal for funding. Activities considered to benefit low- and moderate-income persons are divided into four categories:
1. Area benefit activities are those activities that meet the identified needs of low/moderate income persons residing in an area where at least 51% of the residents are low/moderate income persons. Examples include, but are not limited to, street improvements, water/sewer lines, and neighborhood facilities. Click here for the map of eligible areas.
2. Limited clientele activities benefit a specific group of people, at least 51% of whom are low/moderate income persons. Most, if not all, of the public service programs funded in Baytown meet these criteria. Examples include, but are not limited to, literacy programs, public services for the homeless, and meals on wheels for the elderly.
3. Housing activities are those that improve existing permanent residential structures that will be occupied by low/moderate income households upon completion. Only the infrastructure and land development of new construction is eligible (not new housing units). The housing can be either owner or renter occupied units in either single or multi-family structures.
4. Job creation or retention activities are those that create or retain permanent jobs, at least 51% of which are taken by or considered to be available to low- to moderate-income persons.
If you are interested in applying for CDBG funds, notify the Community Development Division to be added to the Request for Proposal mailing list. Staff is available to explain program guidelines, discuss current funding priorities, and to answer questions regarding the RFP process.
Community Development Staff members include:
- June Tyler, Senior Program Manager
- Ferni Greene-Small, Housing Specialist
- Amy Payne, Community Development Technician
- Robert Green, Demolition and Housing Inspector