Salisbury Action Plan Feedback Sought

SALISBURY – The City of Salisbury is looking for public input on an action plan that outlines how grant funds will be allotted to housing, homeless and community development programs.

Each year, the city prepares an annual action plan. The plan is used as an application for federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program funds and as a guide for the use of affordable housing and community development resources.

In a public hearing last week, Deborah Stam, assistant director of Salisbury’s Housing and Community Development Department, said the city is expected to receive a 10-percent increase in CDBG funding in the coming year, which runs from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

“For CDBG PY (previous year) 2017 the city received $322,179,” she said. “So a 10-percent increase would give us a total estimated award amount of $354,390.”

The city of Salisbury has been a CDBG entitlement jurisdiction since 2004 and operates its own CDBG program. Instead of applying for CDBG funds through the state of Maryland, the city of Salisbury receives funds directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Stam said the city will use 18 percent, or $64,435, of 2018 funds for administration of the CDBG program. The remaining money, she explained, would be used to fund three projects.

The city will award $100,000, or 28 percent, of its funds to Salisbury Neighborhood Housing Services, which provides homebuyer assistance grants to low- and moderate-income households.

“Ten of the homebuyer assistance grant spots will be reserved until Feb. 28, 2019 for new Salisbury University (SU) grads who are participating in the ‘Buy a Home, Build a Business’ program that has been developed with SU,” Stam said. “Beginning on March 1, 2019, any of the reserved grant funds that have not already been allocated to an individual in the ‘Buy a Home, Build a Business’ program will be available to any qualified applicant.”

Stam said the city will also spend $44,000, or 13 percent, to fund a second homeless services case manager position.

“The case managers will conduct street outreach among the homeless population, perform intakes and needs assessments, provide resource navigation through third party referrals and, if appropriate, provide intensive case management for these clients,” she said.

Lastly, the city will use $145,955, or 41 percent, of funding to continue the construction of sidewalks in low- to moderate-income neighborhoods where none currently exist.

Stam said the projects highlight the city’s focus on three target areas.

“These three projects assist us in addressing the housing, homeless and community development strategies that are outlined in the city of Salisbury’s current consolidated plan,” she said.

Stam said a draft of the city’s action plan will be available to the public on the city’s website and at the downtown branch of the Wicomico Public Library.

A second public hearing will be held on April 30 from 5:30-6 p.m. at the Government Office Building. The hearing will provide citizens with a status report on the CDBG projects that are currently underway and those that have been completed in the last year. Residents will also have an opportunity to provide their views on the community development needs of the City of Salisbury.

The city will accept written comments on the action plan through 4:30 p.m. on May 3. Comments should be mailed to the City of Salisbury Housing and Community Development Department, 207 W. Main St., Suite 102, Salisbury Md. 21801.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.