Cong. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, along with her South Florida colleagues Congs. Mario Diaz-Balart, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Frederica Wilson and Joe Garcia re-introduced legislation that would give cities greater flexibility to use funds from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for public services programs that have decreased because of budget cuts and the recent economic downturn. The legislation "CDBG Public Services Flexibility Act" was introduced today, Thursday, in the House and also in the Senate by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
This bill will provide communities with greater flexibility to use funds from CDBG for public services. It does not increase funding or change the overall formula for the CDBG programs, but rather it increases the CDBG public service percentage expenditure for participating communities from 15 to 25 percent.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "During times of budget cutbacks and weak economic growth, the most impacted segment in our communities are the ones that need the most from government services: low income individuals and families. This is why my South Florida Congressional colleagues and me, along with Sen. Nelson, are re-introducing this important legislation so that we can help diminish the pain many of the less fortunate in our state and across the nation will experience as a result of fewer social services. This bill has a simple goal and that is to give greater flexibility to cities in how they spend their CDBG funds in their public services accounts. I urge my colleagues to support our effort to assist those that need our help during these tough economic times."
"The CDBG grant program is used by cities and counties to address local housing, community, and economic development issues. This legislation gives communities greater flexibility in helping meet their unique needs. By increasing the expenditure cap, public services such as food banks, child care, senior services, and crime prevention can continue to be provided to at-risk and vulnerable populations," Said Cong. Diaz-Balart.
"During tough budget times this would enable local leaders to more specifically decide what's best for their community," said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.