State to host public hearings on HUD funding


Public hearings will be held in Southeast Arkansas and throughout the state to receive comments from residents on how to allocate approximately $26 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the fiscal year beginning July 2014.

One session will be held at the community center in Dumas at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 10.

The free meetings are sponsored by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission in partnership with the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Department of Health.

As a requirement to receive funds from HUD, these agencies must submit to the public a single Consolidated Plan describing their proposed use of the funds.

“For more than 40 years, the Community Development Block Grant program has enabled the state to empower local communities through a variety of improvement projects, creating a better quality of life for Arkansas’s citizens,” said Basil Julian, director of AEDC’s Grants Administration Division. “I encourage anyone with an interest in how to spend these funds to come to these meetings and share their ideas.”

Programs funded by HUD include Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Home Investment Partnership (HOME), Emergency Solution Grants (ESG), and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) programs.

CDBG funds for small communities are administered by AEDC and have traditionally been used for senior citizen centers, public health facilities, childcare centers, fire protection, community facilities, economic development projects, and water and wastewater projects.

HOME funds are used to assist with home construction and rental assistance for low income families. ESG funds are used for the operation of homeless shelters and to provide services to homeless persons. HOPWA funds are used to provide housing and rental assistance to persons who are HIV positive.

All meeting locations are wheelchair accessible. Persons needing interpreters or other accommodations should call Basil Julian at AEDC at 501-682-7392 for arrangements to be made in advance.

The 30-day comment period will end at 4:30 p.m. April 16. Public comments will be considered in the final draft of the Consolidated Plan, which will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on May 1.

To be considered in the final plan, written comments must be received during the public comment period and may be addressed to: Consolidated Plan Annual Update, Grants Management Division, Economic Development Commission, 900 W. Capitol Ave., Suite 400, Little Rock, Ark., 72201. The deadline to submit comments is 4:30 p.m. April 16.

Copies of the Consolidated Plan are available and may be reviewed at the county judge’s office in each county courthouse or at the library of every two-year and four-year college. Citizens may view the plan online at www.arkansasedc.com/grants. Details: Contact Basil Julian at 501-682-7392 or email bjulian@arkansasedc.com