Hammond City Council delays decision on HUD funding

2012-11-19T22:00:00Z 2012-11-19T23:14:09Z Hammond City Council delays decision on HUD fundingChelsea Schneider Kirk chelsea.schneider@nwi.com, (219) 933-3241 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | The Hammond City Council has pushed to next month the approval of a spending plan for funding the city receives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Councilman Dan Spitale, D-at large, said at Monday's meeting that he was told more changes may occur in the 2013 budget.

The budget already doesn't include funding for two programs the city had paid for through HUD, said Phil Taillon, executive director of the city's department of planning and development.

Spitale said he won't know specifics until Tuesday. The council held a public hearing on the budget at the meeting but did not take a final vote.

Next year the city will no longer provide new HUD dollars to fund the adopt-a-lot and curb appeal programs.

In the adopt-a-lot program, the city transferred ownership of vacant lots to community organizations, nonprofit agencies or residents for care, according to the city's 2012 HUD plan. The curb appeal program allowed low-income residents to apply for funds for minor house repairs.

Spitale said a couple of more programs may be under review.

“There are other things in there they've been doing for years that I hope they don't have to cut,” Spitale said, “and I think that's what they are working on right now.”

Programming cuts come as the city has experienced a decrease in its HUD funding.

The city is anticipating to receive in 2013 from the federal agency: $1.8 million in community development grants, $354,314 in funding from a HUD program focused on creating affordable housing for low-income residents, and $183,079 in emergency shelter grants.

Councilman Anthony Higgs, D-3rd, said he wants the city to maintain HUD programs that help low-income residents purchase paint, help with emergency roof repairs and provide funds to make homes accessible for disabled residents.

“Certainly I would hope we can adjust the budget to possibly help those that are in the most need in our city,” Higgs said.

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