Beginning in 2007 Cumberland County became a HUD Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Urban County Entitlement Jurisdiction. This means the County receives a direct allocation of CDBG funds from HUD. This places Cumberland County in a similar situation as the larger cities in Maine – Auburn, Bangor, Biddeford, Lewiston and Portland. All other communities in the State receive CDBG funds through the State's Dept. of Economic & Community Development.
25 cities and towns are currently participating in the County program, competing for grants for local projects and determining region-wide activities to fund. Program funds are utilized to implement community development, housing, social service and planning projects, principally benefiting low and moderate income households.
Every five years, beginning in 2007, the County develops a document called the HUD Consolidated Plan. The Plan outlines the needs of the low/moderate income population of the County's communities and establishes priorities for the allocation of grant funds. Each year a grant competition is held to determine the projects to be selected and funds to be awarded. Communities, for local projects, and the County, for region-wide projects, submit applications reviewed and recommended by an Application Review Team. Ultimately the Cumberland County Commissioners determine the final projects to be selected and funded.
The program is a partnership between Cumberland County and our communities. This partnership is manifested by a governance structure centered on the Municipal Oversight Committee (MOC). The MOC is a representative body with one member from each participating city or town. The MOC sets policy direction for the program and recommends projects for funding. Click here for more information on the MOC and for meeting agendas, minutes, and schedules.
Two communities within the Cumberland County Community Development program receive special "set-aside" allocations of CDBG program funds – The City of South Portland and the Town of Bridgton. South Portland from 2003-2006 received a direct CDBG grant from HUD and continues to operate its community development programs through its own Community Development Office; South Portland selects its own programs and projects, maintaining complete autonomy from the County program with its own allocation of CDBG funds. The Town of Bridgton also has a set-aside allocation within the County program.
Funds are distributed through an annual competition and selection process. Applications are distributed in November; pre-applications are due in mid-December; with final applications due in early February. Exact dates are listed in the Application Schedule for the upcoming 2011 program year.
Each municipality may submit a maximum of 2 General Program Applications and 1 Planning Program Application. Cumberland County may submit a maximum of 5 General Program Applications and 2 Planning Program Applications.
The Cumberland County CDBG program does not accept applications from non-profit social service agencies. Applications may only be made by participating cities, towns or the County for program funds. This is a different policy then the City of Portland, which many agencies may be familiar with.
But – social service agencies may receive funds for programs by:
Opportunities are limited by the program's modest financial resources, HUD's restriction that a maximum of 15% of the total County grant allocation may be used for social service activities and policies established by the MOC designed to maximize the utilization of very limited funds.