Provo Economic Development tour round-up 15

Chad Thomas, economic development manager, drives past the Liberty Center Apartments during a tour of Provo held by the city's economic development department Monday, April 29, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Three cities in Utah County — Provo, Orem and Lehi — have been designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as cities that qualify to receive direct grant funding through the Community Development Block Grant and HOME grants.

In an effort to stretch dollars, Orem, Provo and Mountainland Association of Governments (representing Utah County) have agreed to form a collaboration and join funding that will allow for larger projects to be completed. Lehi is not participating at this time. They may in the future, but Orem and Provo have one year under their funding belts in 2019.

The Utah Valley Consortium is lead by Provo City and provides for HOME funding in the community. 

Last year the Family Support and Treatment Center in Orem and the House of Hope in Provo were selected to receive CDBG funding. Both non-profit service organizations serve residents throughout the county.

It isn’t often that taxpayers can have input on where there money goes, said Gonzalez. In this case the community is invited to take a survey to help determine where the greatest needs are.

“One of the things we’d like the community to do is take a five question survey on community needs,” Gonzalzes said.

Utah County also receives funding and is the administrator to disburse money upon application to a consortium of other cities in the county. The cities and towns of Fairfield, Eagle Mountain, Woodland Hills and at times Alpine and Highland have opted out of receiving entitlement funding, according to Gonzalez.

Provo is the only city to receive direct funding from HOME.

Funding through Home Investment and Partnership Program (HOME) is just for housing issues. The better known Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) may be used for public services (15%) and capital projects (85%).

Gonzalez said programs for housing must be used in areas where 51% of the residents earn 80% or less of the area median income as directed by HUD.

About 10% of HOME funding and 20% CDBG is used for administrative purposes, Gonzalez said.

The collaborative effort is part of a five-year process that includes a strategic plan, according to Kena Mathews, Orem’s Community Services manager.

“By getting a strategic plan together we truly are identifying community needs and where funding needs to be placed,” Mathews said.

Mathews added that the collaboration effort leaves less of a burden on the administration of the funds and on the public service organizations.

“It reduces time because we divide responsibility,” Mathews said.

Each city council must approve funding for projects that have been selected and vetted through a citizens committee. They can accept it, reject it or modify it, according to Mathews.

To participate in the survey, visit https://surveymonkey.com/r/LS3DDBN.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter

@gpugmire

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!