City of Corvallis plans for multi-million dollar federal housing grant approval

View of Community Outreach Inc. on Tuesday, February 13th, 2024, Corvallis OR.
View of Community Outreach Inc. on Tuesday, February 13th, 2024, Corvallis OR.
Carter Pardue

The City of Corvallis hopes to receive $2.3 million to continue to fund housing and community development projects over the next year, as part of a five-year plan. 

City housing officials issued three requests for proposals for projects eligible through the Community Development Block Grant and the HOME Investment Partnership Program to help continue to invest in better housing and services for lower-income individuals. 

According to Briae Lewis, Ward 2 Councilor for the City of Corvallis, these grant funds will hopefully be approved by the federal government in June 2024.

The CDBG Program was established in 1974 under the Housing and Community Development Act. “The primary objective of this act is the development of viable urban communities by providing the following, principally for persons of low and moderate-income: decent housing; a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities,” said Nyssa Paul, Corvallis housing grant coordinator. 

On average, the city receives $544,000 in CDBG funding on a yearly basis, according to Paul.

The HOME program has a similar mission to the CDBG program, and is the largest federal block grant for state and local governments designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households.  

Money from the HOME grant will “fund a wide range of activities including building, buying and/or rehabilitating affordable housing for rent or homeownership or providing direct rental assistance to low-income people,” Paul said in an email.

“We are still in a housing crisis, and we are still trying to figure that out, so these grants help,” Lewis said. 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a minimum of 70% of CDBG funding to benefit low- to moderate-income persons. The City of Corvallis uniquely focuses the grant funding towards individuals of the lowest income, and has been eligible for these funds in years past. 

“The City of Corvallis has surpassed that outcome by historically prioritizing funding of projects that serve community members with the lowest incomes,” Paul said. “In the past five years, 100% of the funding allocated by the City of Corvallis has benefited low- and moderate-income persons and households either directly or on an area basis.”

Partnerships among organizations, groups, community members, City Council and other local jurisdictions is essential because they are ongoing for the determination and implementation of community projects, Paul said. 

Some of these partnerships include the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence, the Corvallis Daytime Drop-in Center, Community Outreach Inc., the South Corvallis Food Bank and Corvallis Housing First. 

Every five years the city staff develop a consolidation plan that “provides a five-year summary of actions, activities, and the specific federal and non-federal resources that will be used to address the priority needs and specific goals for the next five years,” Paul said. 

They also created “the Annual Action Plan, which provides a more concise summary of the actions, activities and resources that will be used for that year to address the priority needs and specific goals identified by the Consolidated Plan.” 

The most recent consolidated plan was approved in 2023 for the next five years, through 2027. Paul said that their five main goals, partially funded by this grant money, are to:

  • Create affordable housing opportunities.
  • Maintain the quality of affordable housing.
  • Public facilities and improvements to serve the needs of low or moderate-income individuals. Support infrastructure needs in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, including infrastructure adjacent to affordable housing developments.
  • Support achievement of the Home, Opportunity, Planning and Equity Advisory Board recommendations and strategic priorities of the Coordinated Homeless Response Office.
  • Support agencies that provide direct services to low-income and special needs populations.

“The next annual hearing for the 2024-2025 Annual Action Plan will be June 3, 2024, at the City Council, and projects will begin around fall 2024,” Paul said.

The past consolidation plan and grant funding allowed “the City of Corvallis (to) disburse $3,604,700 in CDBG funding to 17 organizations serving our community,” said Paul. 

This distribution of funds included capital projects “that supported ten rehabilitation projects for shelters, transitional homes and affordable housing in Corvallis, two acquisition projects for permanent supportive housing and two safety and equipment upgrades for a local youth center” and human service projects that “supported public service activities such as employment services, childcare, health services, substance abuse services, fair housing counseling and services supporting our elderly and unhoused community members.”

Paul added “the city facilitated two loan programs for low-income community members to support first-time homebuyer down payments and home rehabilitation projects that address housing quality standards.”

The renewed grant money will only continue to build upon the already distributed funds. It is not expected to go away due to “community members struggling with finding housing that’s affordable or paying their rent and putting food on their table,” Paul said.

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    Gabby MFeb 20, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    This is so well-written.