Sustainable Community Demonstration Project Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding is available to local governments through a competitive basis. The Sustainable Community Demonstration Project category provides grants to communities for a variety of projects and activities demonstrating comprehensive innovative approaches to support community sustainability. To date the program has funded a demonstration district geothermal project in a community downtown and a demonstration streetscape project that integrated green infrastructure best management practices for stormwater, combined with LED street lights and a building façade master plan.
Prior to submitting an application on IowaGrants.gov you MUST contact either the Sustainable Community Demonstration Project Manager Jeff.Geerts@iowaeda.com 515.348.6211 or the Community Investments Team Leader Nichole.Hansen@iowaeda.com 515.348.6215.
All incorporated cities and counties in the state of Iowa, except those designated as HUD entitlement areas, are eligible to apply for and receive funds under this program. The law authorizing the CDBG program for States can be found under Title I, Section 105, of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, HUD’s administrative regulation can be found under 24 CFR 570, subpart I: State Community Development Block Grant Program, and Iowa’s Administrative Code can be found at Iowa Economic Development Authority , Chapter 23 Iowa Community Development Block Grant Program.
All eligible applicants compete with other cities eligible for funding under this program. The maximum grant award is $500,000. Communities with populations less than 300 are limited to $1,000 per capita, those with populations between 300 and 999 may receive up to $300,000, and those with populations of 1,000 or greater may receive the maximum award.
Applications for the CDBG Sustainable Community Demonstration Project program must meet one HUD national objective. The national objective most applicable to Sustainable Community Demonstration projects is the slum and blight national objective. Communities interested in using the low-to-moderate income (LMI) national objective with a CDBG Sustainable Community Demonstration Project application should contact IEDA in advance to determine its appropriateness for an application under this program. You must contact Jeff Geerts or Derek Lord to discuss your project and the documentation required to meet a national objective prior to submitting an application in IowaGrants.gov.
To address the slum and blight national objective, the application must document the extent or seriousness of deterioration in the area to be assisted, showing a clear adverse effect on the well-being of the area or community and illustrating that the proposed activity will alleviate or eliminate the conditions causing the deterioration. A comprehensive, detailed building survey as well as a city resolution is necessary to meet this national objective.
With prior IEDA approval some projects can also qualify under the low- and moderate –income persons (LMI) objective. To address this objective, 51 percent or more persons benefitting from a proposed activity must have incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income. Applicants addressing the low- and moderate-income persons national objective must do so by either by the entire city meeting LMI, or limited clientele. The low- and moderate-income persons national objective may only be used for a specific facility, building or project area to be utilized by or will serve LMI persons. An extensive income survey is necessary to meet this national objective through city-wide LMI, unless the city is already qualified as determined by IEDA through Census Data.
CDBG PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS
Single Audit Act
CDBG contracts are subject to audit. The Single Audit Act, as amended in 1996, mandates that recipients of federal funds of $500,000 or more within a year have these funds audited. When budgeting for CDBG funds, applicants should be aware of these audit requirements:
- For recipients of $500,000 or more in federal funds received from more than one source of federal funding, an organization-wide audit must be performed, consistent with the requirements set form in OMB Circular A-133.
- For recipients of $500,000 or more in federal funds received from a single source of funding, a project audit, targeting only transactions dealing specifically with the project, may be performed in lieu of an organization-wide audit.
Audit costs are a CDBG-eligible expense. Organization-wide audits can be paid with CDBG funds proportional to the amount of all other funds included in the audit. The total cost of a project audit can be paid with CDBG funds. Cities required by state law to be audited every four years (i.e., those with populations between 700 and 2,000) may wish to determine when their next audit is due and attempt to coordinate the 4-year audit with the audit required by the Single Audit Act. Contact the State Auditor’s Office at 515.281.5834 if an alteration to the 4-year schedule is required.
David Bacon and Related Acts
Projects that include construction may be subject to the requirements of the Davis-Bacon Act and related laws and regulations. The Davis-Bacon Act applies to all contracts for construction, alteration and/or repairs in excess of $2,000 that involve CDBG funds. Cost estimates for the proposed project should reflect compliance with these requirements. For information, call IEDA at 515.725.3072.
Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act
For projects that include acquisition and relocation, all recipients given the authority to acquire property are required to follow the guidelines in HUD Handbook 1378 – Tenant Assistance, Relocation and Real Property Acquisition. Cost estimates for the proposed project should reflect compliance with these requirements. For information, call IEDA 515.725.3028.
Historic Preservation Review Requirements
Federally funded activities are subject to the review requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The goal of the review process is to identify historic properties, both above and below the ground potentially affected by the undertaking, assess the effects of the undertaking and seek ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties.
The review process involves consultation with various agencies, groups and individuals. One of those agencies is the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO), located in the Department of Cultural Affairs. Although consultation is not required prior to a CDBG award, if the project involves destruction of a building it is a good idea to contact SHPO as soon as possible in the decision making process so that they may assist you. For more information, call IEDA at 515.725.3073.
To comply with the citizen participation requirements of Section 507 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1987, CDBG applicants/recipients must do the following:
1. Conduct at least one public hearing on the proposed activities. Submit a copy of the public notice and minutes with the application. The minutes of the hearing must reflect that the hearing included a review of the following:
- how the need for the activities was identified;
- how the proposed activities will be funded and the sources of funds;
- date the CDBG application will be submitted;
- requested amount of federal funds;
- estimated portion of federal funds that will benefit low- and moderate-income persons;
- where the proposed activities will be conducted;
- plans to minimize displacement of persons and businesses resulting of funded activities;
- plans to assist persons actually displaced;
- the nature of the proposed activities.
2. Conduct at least one hearing on the status of funded activities. The minutes of the hearing must reflect that the hearing included a review of the following:
- general description of accomplishments to date;
- summary of expenditures to date;
- general description of the remaining work;
- general description of changes made to the project budget, performance targets, activity schedules, scope, location, objectives or beneficiaries.
3. Publish hearing notices in a manner consistent with requirements of the Iowa Code, Section 362.3.
4. Ensure the public reasonable access to all local meetings, project records and information relating to the proposed and actual use of federal funds.
5. Conduct all related public meetings or hearing in public buildings or facilities that are accessible to persons with disabilities, and provide reasonable accommodations for all types of disabilities as necessary.
6. Provide citizens with names and addresses of the following:
- the person(s) authorized to receive and respond to citizen proposals, questions and complaints concerning proposed and funded activities;
- the person(s) available and able to provide technical assistance to groups representative of low- and moderate-income persons in preparing and presenting their proposals for the request and use of federal funds.
7. Provide translators during or written translations after public hearings attended by non-English speaking residents upon their request whenever they represent a significant proportion of the persons benefited by proposed or actual activities.
8. A public hearing must be held for each entity included in a joint application.
Iowa Green Streets Criteria
The Iowa Green Streets Criteria promote public health, energy efficiency, water conservation, smart locations, operational savings and sustainable building practices. Project shall comply with the requirements of the Iowa Green Streets Criteria and shall submit a completed Iowa Green Streets Green Development Plan and Checklist with the full application.
For more information, visit the Iowa Green Streets Criteria webpage at http://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/CommunityDevelopment/green.
Environmental Review and project initiation
No HUD Funds or non-HUD funds may be committed to the project until the applicant has secured environmental approval from the State, as provided in HUD regulation 24 CFR Part 58. In addition, pending environmental approval and pursuant to 24 CFR Part 58.22(a), no grant recipient or participant in the development process, including contractors or sub-contractors, may undertake an activity that may limit the choice of reasonable alternatives. Such choice limiting actions include real property acquisition, conducting a competitive sealed bid process for the project, leasing, rehabilitation, repair, demolition, conversion, and new construction.