Cicilline, Taveras Work to Protect CDBG Funding

Jan 19, 2011 Issues:
Rep Cicilline with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras to Protect CDBG Funding

WASHINGTON, DC– Today, U.S. Congressman David Cicilline welcomed Providence Mayor Angel Taveras to Capitol Hill and both joined in a press conference with U.S. House Financial Services Ranking Member Barney Frank to discuss the impact of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) on cities across the country.

The CDBG program has received more than $6 billion in the past two years but with possible cuts to the CDBG programs, Cicilline, Taveras and Ranking Member Frank reiterated the message today that the CDBG program is vital in every community in America and we must continue to completely fund it.

At the press conference, Congressman Cicilline said, “I know as a former Mayor how important the CDBG program is to the economic success of our cities. We ought to increase funding to the program if we are serious about revitalizing our communities, helping our small businesses and making targeted economic investments.”

The CDBG program has provided a proven economic boost to several communities in the First District of Rhode Island, as Congressman Cicilline pointed to today:

The city of Woonsocket receives an annual CDBG allocation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which amounted to more than $1.3 million in 2009-2010. During that period, Woonsocket’s average unemployment rate was above 13%, reaching above 15% in certain months. CDBG funds were critically important in creating jobs through street improvements, site preparation for the new Woonsocket middle school, parks improvements, and building restorations for Main Street area businesses.

In the city of Pawtucket, $700,000 in CDBG funding was used to repair sidewalks and improve a major neighborhood commercial area – again focusing on the important mission of job creation and local economic development. The Pawtucket housing authority utilized $37,000 to build an urban greenhouse where children and adults can grow their own produce and learn about nutrition and healthy eating.

The city of East Providence was able to expand their senior center, which services more than 2,200 senior citizens annually. They also utilized $95,000 to provide a low interest loan for a business restoration that created 13 full-time jobs

And to prove just how resourceful our local communities are, the city of Providence used their $6.1 million allocation last year to leverage more than $32.7 million in additional funding from public and private sources.

Cicilline concluded, “Like hundreds of communities throughout the nation, the CDBG program provides cities and towns in my district with the essential resources they need to support seniors and working families, improve our housing, breathe life into our neighborhoods and, most importantly, support small businesses and create jobs. We ought to do everything we can to increase funding to this important program.”