For Immediate Release - July 07, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces $28 Million in Federal Block Grants for Community Improvement Projects

41 communities receive funds for housing, business, infrastructure upgrades, public service programs

CHELSEA - July 7, 2011 - In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to spurring economic activity, creating jobs and strengthening communities across the state, Governor Deval Patrick today announced that 41 cities and towns across the Commonwealth will receive $28 million in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to support housing, infrastructure, business development and public services projects. The Governor made the announcement during a visit to Chelsea's North Bellingham neighborhood where a portion of the City's $1 million CDBG award will be used to rehabilitate 11 foreclosed housing units.

"These grants will allow communities to put people to work while moving forward on a multitude of improvement projects that will attract businesses to the Commonwealth," said Governor Patrick who made the announcement following a neighborhood tour of improvements to Chelsea made possible by past CDBG funds. "Funding that allows cities and towns to fix up homes and storefronts, continue to provide public services or replace streets and sidewalks will strengthen Massachusetts and provide important opportunities to residents and businesses."

"As we continue to invest in cities and towns across the Commonwealth, improving our infrastructure and housing stock helps to support the state's economic success," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray, Chair of the Inter-agency Council on Housing and Homelessness. "We thank our congressional delegation for supporting our efforts to reinvigorate our communities and build a stronger Commonwealth for the future."

The flexibility of CDBG funds enables communities like Chelsea to address their specific needs, improve the lives of residents and strengthen the local economy. In addition to rehabilitating 11 foreclosed properties, Chelsea will invest the CDBG funds in sidewalk reconstruction and English as a Second Language (ESOL) programs. In the past, Chelsea has effectively leveraged CDBG funds to revitalize neighborhoods by working with nonprofit partners like Chelsea Neighborhood Developers and local residents. The value of CDBG funds was evident as Governor Patrick toured the neighborhood where, with FY2010 CDBG funds, the City and its partners created the Enhanced Code Enforcement Pilot Program to deal with landlords who are not in compliance with city regulations and, when necessary, to take over properties and put responsible property owners in place.

"This investment will help Massachusetts modernize neighborhoods and create jobs," said U.S. Senator John Kerry.

"I am pleased to support these grants because they are one more tool in the toolbox to get businesses hiring and put people back to work. During these tough economic times we must be mindful to keep investing in the infrastructure and community assets that help to drive economic growth," said U.S. Senator Scott Brown.

"Community Development Block Grant funding makes a positive impact on our communities in so many ways, from housing rehabilitation and small business assistance to playground improvements. It enhances neighborhoods, supports programming during tough financial times and helps improve access to affordable housing. In Chelsea, these funds will be used to improve 11 foreclosed housing units, repair sidewalks and support social services programming," said Congressman Michael Capuano, whose 8th Congressional District includes Chelsea.

"The funds going to Bourne, as well as to the other towns in Massachusetts, are a perfect example of why Community Development Block Grants are vital to our communities," said Congressman Bill Keating. "The $900,000 awarded will improve the living conditions of many residents."

The CDBG program is the Commonwealth's largest available resource for neighborhood revitalization projects and helps meet the housing and public service needs of low- and moderate-income communities while building and repairing infrastructure vital to the health and safety of all residents. The infrastructure projects help communities create and maintain jobs while providing important improvements to the lives of residents in each city and town. Historically, 40 percent of CDBG funds distributed have been used for these job-creating projects.

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and funds are distributed by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to cities and towns in Massachusetts with populations of less than 50,000. Eligible communities with populations greater than 50,000 receive program funding directly from HUD. Communities may apply for CDBG funding for activities including: housing rehabilitation projects, infrastructure repair or replacement, construction or rehabilitation of public facilities, neighborhood improvement projects, economic development loans and other business assistance programs, social service upgrades, downtown improvement projects and architectural barrier removal and planning. The maximum grant for a single community is $1 million. Regional applications are accepted.

"These grants come at a critical time for municipalities when it seems like the needs are the greatest they've ever been and yet the resources to meet those need are more difficult than ever to find. For us here in Chelsea, addressing our aging infrastructure, reversing the pressures that distressed properties cause in our neighborhoods and providing good hard working people with the education, language and citizenship programs they need to be even greater contributing members of our community are our top priorities. The CDBG program is making all of that possible and more, so we remain grateful to the Patrick-Murray Administration and our congressional delegation for making such funding available," said Jay Ash, Chelsea City Manager.

Ann Houston, Executive Director of Chelsea Neighborhood Developers, said, "CDBG provides a flexible resource that Chelsea has used effectively to leverage significant community impact. In the Shurtleff Bellingham neighborhood, residents worked with the City and CND to prioritize traffic calming, better roads and rehab foreclosed properties as important components of neighborhood improvement. But just as important, residents said they needed better jobs. The City has invested CDBG in English as a Second Language classes, as well as other social services aimed at employability skills. "

"Cities and towns are looking to maximize every available resource at this time," said DHCD Undersecretary Tina Brooks. "These grants will be put to good use providing quality public services and opportunities for residents."

Today's grant awards are as follows:

Community Development Block Grant Awards (CDBG)
Community Grant Amount Activities
AMHERST $1,000,000Land acquisition for affordable housing; Main Street roadway, sidewalk and drainage; Affordable housing production planning study; social services (emergency shelter, food pantry, support for the Center for New Americans, childcare tuition, childcare subsidies, emergency assistance)
AYER $900,000Housing rehabilitation (12 units); Pond Street roadway, sidewalk, water, sewer
BECKET $900,000Housing rehabilitation (7 units); North Village sidewalk, roadway and drainage improvements; Senior affordable housing planning study
BOURNE $900,000Housing rehabilitation (15 units); Bourne Housing Authority's Continental Apartments improvements and roof replacement
CHELSEA $1,000,000Distressed properties initiative - acquisition and renovation of 11 foreclosed units; Washington Avenue sidewalk reconstruction; social services (Centro Latino citizenship program, ESOL instruction, after-school/summer program)
CHESTERFIELD (jt), Cummington, Goshen, Peru, Plainfield, Williamsburg $1,047,404Housing rehabilitation (13 units); first time homebuyer counseling /assistance (6 purchases); Goshen senior housing planning study; social services (childcare subsidies, elder health; elder in-home living assistance; family counseling; food pantry)
CLINTON $900,000Housing rehabilitation (7 units); Grove Street water and roadway improvements
EASTHAMPTON $895,950Housing rehabilitation (4 units); Everett Street neighborhood roadway, sidewalks, drainage and sewer improvements
FAIRHAVEN $883,926Housing rehabilitation (3 units); Spring Street sidewalk, roadway, sewer, and drainage
GARDNER $1,000,000Housing rehabilitation (6 units); Greater Gardner Community Health Center improvements; demolition of distressed properties (2 units); energy efficiency improvements to the Great Gardner/Athol Area Mental Health Association building; design for Connors and Knowlton Streets; design for Greenwood playground; Chelsea Street Affordable housing development; social services (food pantry, literacy training, computer and job skills training)
GREENFIELD $1,000,000Storefront facade improvements (2 units); Housing rehabilitation (7 units); Columbus and Hall Avenues sewer replacement project; social services (food pantry, substance abuse counseling, adult literacy, ESOL)
HUNTINGTON (jt), Middlefield, Russell $900,000Housing rehabilitation (2 units); Pine Hill Road water improvements; social services (domestic violence prevention, elder in-home living assistance, elder economic self-sufficiency, food pantry, adult literacy)
MARLBOROUGH $900,000Housing rehabilitation (3 units); Preston Street roadway, sidewalk, water, drainage

MONTAGUE $900,000Housing rehabilitation (3 units); Unity Park improvements
NORTH ADAMS $1,000,000Municipal skating rink parking improvements; Armory building rehabilitation; Neighborhood abandoned property program (2 units)
PALMER $900,000Housing rehabilitation (6 units); Crest and Hill Streets sidewalk, roadway, water and drainage; Endelson playground design; social services (domestic violence prevention)
PHILLIPSTON (jt), Royalston $800,000Housing rehabilitation (14 units); ADA design for Phillipston and Royalston town halls; affordable housing study
ROCKLAND $680,000Housing rehabilitation (nine units, single building); barrier removal at Rockland community center
SALISBURY $900,000Housing rehabilitation (4 units); Gardner Street roadway, sidewalk, water, drainage; social services (Boys and Girls club, emergency assistance program)
SHELBURNE (jt), Buckland $900,000Grove Street (Shelburne) and Clement Street (Buckland) street, sidewalk, water, sewer, drainage; social services (food pantry)
SOUTHBRIDGE $1,000,000Housing rehabilitation (8 units); Morton Street roadway improvements; Chestnut Street sidewalk engineering; Commercial rehabilitation (6 units); Strategic financing planning and master planning studies; social service (youth services, elder services)
SOUTHWICK $900,000Housing rehabilitation (8 units); Southwick Senior Center expansion
TEMPLETON $899,562Housing rehabilitation (5 units); Columbus Avenue, Cherry Street, Mason Street, and southern Summer Street roadway, sidewalk, water and drainage
WARE $800,000Memorial Field improvements; social services (family support services, domestic violence prevention)
WARE (jt), Hardwick, Brookfield, Warren $754,217Housing rehabilitation (19 units); social services (adult literacy)
WAREHAM $1,000,000Housing rehabilitation (9 units); Village streetscape design; social services (senior transportation, after school program, youth and adult tutoring, domestic violence prevention)
WARREN $695,545Crescent Street roadway, sidewalks, water, drainage; Pleasant and Highland Streets design; School Street neighborhood planning; social services (domestic violence)
WEBSTER $1,000,000Hazardous materials remediation at low-income elderly housing site; Mechanic Street sidewalk reconstruction; School Street Municipal Parking Lot reconstruction; Pedestrian access and circulation planning study
WEST SPRINGFIELD $1,000,000Housing rehabilitation (14 units); neighborhood code violation enforcement; Merrick Street sidewalks; Center playground renovation; social services (housing counseling, family counseling, English as second language, summer youth programs)
WINCHENDON $825,000Emerald Street roadway, sidewalks, water, sewer, drainage

TOTAL AWARDS $28,004,264

Note: For multi-community awards listed, towns in capital letters are acting as lead agencies administering grants for communities listed in lower case/smaller font.