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ConPlan

HUD's Consolidated planning process is a way for advocates to shape Federal housing and community development funding where they live and work


Having your say on housing and community development issues 
    Ohio's Consolidated Planning season is underway. With some effort and luck, your housing concerns may be considered. HUD's Consolidated Plan (ConPlan-no pun intended) provides an opportunity for housing and community development advocates to offer suggestions about how the state and some local governments will spend their Federal funds. Alas, many advocates don't know about the process. HUD requires recipients of Federal housing and community development funds to encourage public participation in setting goals. However, the citizen participation normally consists of a couple of "public hearings" and "advisory group" meetings. 
    Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) has a Memo on the Citizen Participation which outlines the citizen participation process. Citizens can submit comments on housing and community development needs at the beginning of the process (September 1st-September 30th) and again after the draft plan is released (March 1, 2016-March 30, 2016). Comments go to Office of Community Development Ohio Development Services Agency 77 S. High Street, P. O. Box 1001 Columbus, Ohio 43216-1001 Attn: Ian Thomas Email: Ian.Thomas@development.ohio.gov
    Even though we're already past the first deadline for public comments, the planning process is still going on so it's worth a try to have a say now. What are your housing priorities? What are the housing needs in your community? More money for Rapid Rehousing? Emergency funds for eviction prevention? Support for local code enforcement? If possible, document the need with local data, news reports or personal testimony. 
    There are three other opportunities to focus attention on your local housing and community development needs in coming months. 
1. National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). Next year, Ohio should receive around $3M from the NHTF to address the housing of the lowest income households. The actual amount will be determined by HUD around the end of 2015. In Ohio, ODSA has picked the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) to distribute these funds. This past week, OHFA has announced that it will be publishing a public participation plan in December 2015 and will be taking comments in early 2016. RHINO will provide details to members as soon as they are published. 
2. Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing (AI). At the ODSA Advisory meetings this past Tuesday, the Fair Housing Advisory Committee learned that ODSA already updated the State Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing back in May. Seems like the only "public" input to the AI plan was from local government representatives who are also ODSA grantees. RHINO highly recommends that you take a look the new AI plan (link below) and send your comments to Tim Allen at timothym.allen@development.ohio.gov . For example, If your issues are discrimination based on LGBT, Source of Income, Domestic Violence, or Re entry Citizenship, you may want to get these issues in to the State's plan. Because the AI plan is part of the Consolidated Plan there should still time to have some input. 
3. Finally, if you live in an "entitlement community," you can check with your city or county community development office to find out when they will open up their ConPlan for comments. An entitlement community is an urban jurisdiction (city or county) that receives HUD funds directly, not through the State. HUD has a list of entitlement communities here.
    All of this planning around existing HUD programs takes place at a time when Congress is rethinking the future of HUD and housing assistance. Coincidental with the 50th Anniversary of the founding of HUD in 1965, Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tx) is asking people to tell him what changes should be made “ 'Now, 50 years and more than $1.6 trillion in real dollars spent later, it is hard to conclude that HUD has lived up to those lofty aspirations,' he said. 'Instead of marshaling federal resources towards the goal of addressing America’s housing needs, HUD has come to symbolize the dashed hopes of the Great Society vision that mistook centralization for coordination and spending for compassion.' ” Advocates worry that Chairman Hersarling is planning to add a housing reform agenda to the overall push by Congressional Republicans to create a platform for the next Republican President. At the same time, coincidental it seems, the Congressional Budget Office released a study of the costs and impacts of HUD Housing programs. This report will surely be used by pols to influence the future course of HUD programs in the future. On the liberal side of the discussion, more and more housing proponents are moving away from a basic premise of HUD programs: tying housing assistance to specific properties (eg. projects). 
    None of these steps will make big changes in the short term, but adding your ideas to the discussion will help tune the process towards meeting the real needs in your community. Think outside the traditional programmatic boundaries! 

 Participate!

What I learned from a local affordable housing planning process

Seizing the Power of Public Participation

Share comments about your local housing and community development needs
You can review Comments go to Office of Community Development Ohio Development Services Agency 77 S. High Street, P. O. Box 1001 Columbus, Ohio 43216-1001 Attn: Ian Thomas Email: Ian.Thomas@development.ohio.gov

Copies of the State plans are appended at the bottom of this page


 Check out the planning documents appended at the bottom of this page!

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Spencer Wells,
Oct 5, 2015, 5:38 AM
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Spencer Wells,
Oct 5, 2015, 5:39 AM
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Spencer Wells,
Oct 5, 2015, 5:54 AM
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Spencer Wells,
Oct 5, 2015, 5:39 AM
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Spencer Wells,
Oct 5, 2015, 5:40 AM
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