Spokane County’s Community Services, Housing, and Community Development Department is asking Spokane County citizens to take a few minutes and complete three Community Needs Surveys by the end of July. The completed surveys will be tabulated and the results used in the consolidated planning process for 2015-2019.
The Consolidated Plan outlines how millions of dollars in state and federal grants will be allocated over the next five years.
Spokane County has invested approximately $2 million annually of HUD Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program funding throughout Spokane County. Spokane County’s Urban Consortium consists of the municipalities of Airway Heights, Cheney, Deer Park, Fairfield, Latah, Liberty Lake, Medical Lake, Millwood, Rockford, Spangle, Spokane Valley and Waverly as well as the unincorporated county areas.
These dollars have been used to create jobs, build new and acquire existing housing, build water lines, improve parks, and feed families, said Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, county spokeswoman.
How money is allocated to a wide variety of projects and services will be outlined in the five-year Consolidated Plan, which is based on the results of the Community Needs Surveys. For example, a typical year involves funding for the following:
- Emergency health and safety housing repairs to very low-income homeowners
- Microenterprise assistance to help small business with five or fewer employees
- Emergency food
- Emergency assistance through local community centers
- Services for seniors, including life skills and equipment for visually impaired, home delivered meals, and senior nutrition sites
- Infrastructure improvements to water and sewer systems to comply with Department of Ecology mandated improvements, increased flows for fire suppression, ADA compliant curbs cuts for local access by those with physical disabilities, street paving, and sidewalk improvements in low- income, residential neighborhoods.
- Construction, rehabilitation, or acquisition of rental housing
- Down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers
- Health services such as prescription assistance
- Rental assistance for families with children to avoid eviction and remain in their schools
- Rental assistance for people exiting institutions, such as jail, to reduce homelessness and recidivism
- Rental assistance to families of students who are homeless in the Spokane Valley school districts
- Tenant-Based Rental Assistance for those with special needs who also need help paying rent.
These funds are allocated to projects and services that address priority needs identified in the participating cities/towns and unincorporated areas of Spokane County, principally to benefit low-to-moderate income families and individuals.
The Community Services, Housing, and Community Development Department, its advisory committee and the Spokane County Board of Commissioners ask the public to take a few minutes and complete the Community Needs Surveys. In this way, citizens will have a voice in determining what type of projects and services should be funded in the coming years with CDBG and HOME funds.
Each Survey takes approximately five minutes to complete and they are available at spokanecounty.org/CommunitySVCS/HCD, Surveys are also available at all Spokane County library branches.