Director: Matt Jennings The purpose of the City’s Community Development Department is to deliver services to the low income citizens in a timely manner while being responsible for administering the costs and charges related to the planning and implementation of community development projects funded, in part or whole, by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investments Partnership Act.
The City of Fort Smith’s CDBG and HOME programs are funded by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD).
To receive these funds, the City must complete a 5-Year Consolidated Plan to prioritize projects and programs based on analysis of data and surveys completed by citizens and agencies that serve our low income citizens. The process is guided by the Community Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) using a Citizen Participation Plan. The CDAC provides recommendations to the Fort Smith Board of Directors on plans, projects and programs. Each year of the Five-Year Consolidated Plan, the City must submit an Annual Action Plan (AAP) for approval by HUD. The 2016 AAP is contained within the 2016-2020 5-Year Consolidated Plan.
The City must also conduct an Analysis of Housing Impediments to Fair Housing Choice (AI). It examines whether or not state and local lows, private, public and non-profit sector regulations, administrative policies, procedures and practices in the location, availability and accessibility of housing in Fort Smith. The AI identifies specific barriers that need to be addressed if future fair housing initiatives are to be successful.
Fair Housing is for everyone! Fair Housing is a right protected by federal and state laws. Fair Housing means that you may freely choose a place to live without regard to your race, color, religion, sex, national origin or because you are disabled or have children in your family. Click here to download and print the Franklin the Fox Coloring Book.
CDBG provides annual grants on a formula basis to entitled cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing safe and decent housing, a suitable living environment and by expanded economic opportunities, principally for person of low to moderate income. The national objectives are to benefit low and moderate income persons, to prevent or eliminate slums or blight, or to meet community development need which has a particular urgency. The City provides CDBG funds to carry out single family homeowner rehabilitation assistance and to a variety of local non-profit agencies to carry out public service activities such as dental, medical, homeless counseling, etc. The City also assists homeless service providers and public facility improvements.
The National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 created the HOME Investment Partnerships Act (HOME) Program. This federal program is designed to strengthen public-private partnerships and to expand the supply of decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing for very low income and low-income individuals or families. The City of Fort Smith receives an annual federal entitlement of HOME funds to implement the Act locally and is defined by federal regulation as a Participating Jurisdiction (PJ). The eligibility criteria is muich the same as that of CDBG, however HOME funds are restricted for housing and housing related activities only.
The City's CDBG and HOME Program Year runs from July 1 - June 30 annually. During this period the City or subgrantees undertake projects and activities that were included in the HUD Annual Action Plan (AAP). Public hearings are held annually to discuss the draft action plan and receive public comments on the proposed activities in the AAP.