Sherman is slated to receive more federal money next year as part of the Community Development Block Grant program than in any year since 2010. The city’s action plan for the 2017 Community Development Block Grant funds will see nearly $335,000 distributed among city programs and local public service entities.
The CDBG funds are an entitlement grant the city receives each year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For the 2017 fiscal year, Sherman is slated to receive $334,954 to assist in addressing community development needs for low- to moderate-income citizens.
“What the Community Development Block Grant allows the city of Sherman to do is to really target some areas of the city that are more blighted than maybe some of the areas, both for redevelopment of existing properties and demolition of substandard structures,” Community and Support Services Manager Nate Strauch said. “What it really allows us to do is focus on those areas of the city for cleanup that really need it the most.”
More than half of the funds — $180,000 — will be used for owner-occupied housing rehabilitation under the action plan. The housing repairs program will assist low- to moderate-income homeowners with bringing their properties up to code and will be limited to $5,000 per home.
Program administration will use $66,754 from the grant to allow city staff to oversee the application processes, contract management and various duties related to the distribution of the funds.
The city’s substandard structure demolition program will receive $62,300 from the grant to help remove substandard structures in the targeted areas. Strauch said those funds, which are more than $15,000 higher than the $47,000 earmarked from the CDBG funds for the program last year, will be used to help expand the city’s demolition program.
“We’ve ramped it (the demolition program) up in using that Community Development Block Grant money in conjunction with budgeted city money,” Strauch said. “We’ve really been able to ramp up the number of structures that we’re able to remove on a yearly basis over the past two or three years.”
During 2016, the city demolished 22 substandard structures and through last month’s budget workshop had demolished 14 in 2017 with eight more planned through the rest of the year. Strauch said he believes the program could demolish “somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 houses next year.”
The Grayson Crisis Center will get $4,000 to help women and children, who have lived in Sherman city limits, dealing with domestic violence. Grayson County Shelter will get $4,000 to assist homeless families and individuals who once lived in Sherman and the Guidance Center of Texoma will get $4,000 for counseling services related to substance, domestic and sexual abuse, among other services. The Sherman Boys & Girls Club will receive the last $3,900 to help with scholarships for children of low- to moderate-income families living in Sherman.
The action plan is put together by city staff in an effort to address needs of public housing, homelessness, affordable housing and nonhousing community development activities. The $334,954 Sherman is set to receive next year is more than it has received from the CDBG program in all but one year of the last decade. In 2010, the city received $351,141 from the program. Last year, it received $315,681 in funds from the federal government.
As part of the proposed 2018 budget announced earlier this summer by the administration of President Donald J. Trump, HUD would receive $40.68 billion in gross discretionary funding, but the CDBG program would be eliminated.
Last year, the city of Denison applied for and was approved for a $1.55 million loan through HUD’s Section 108 to finance improvements to city roadways in low-income areas. It is planning to leverage a portion of its annual CDBG funding to finance the debt.