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Community Block Grant Hearings Scheduled for Mid-April

March 30, 3006 – With spring comes the annual round of Community Development Block Grant hearings to be held April 18 at the Legislature building on St. John, April 19 at Lockhart Elementary School on St. Thomas and April 20 at the Education Department's Curriculum Center on St. Croix. All begin at 5:30 p.m.
This year, the program run by the Planning and Natural Resources Department has $1.9 million in Block Grant funds, $88,225 in Emergency Shelter Grant funds and $1.16 million in Home Investment Partnership Funds to distribute. All are federal programs.
However, the department received requests totaling $8.1 million, far more than the $3.18 million allotted under the three grant programs.
A press release from Planning indicates that six St. John organizations applied for grants worth $1.1 million. Another 32 from St. Thomas applied for grants valued at $4.74 million, and 20 organizations from St. Croix applied for grants worth $2.26 million.
Block grant program director Laurence Joshua was not in the office Thursday and no one else could comment on the program.
According to the press release, the proposals selected for funding come under the second year of the five-year Consolidated Plan that focuses on public facilities and services primarily for low- and moderate-income persons.
The purpose of the hearings is to present and discuss the strategies, policies and procedures for selecting the projects to be funded.
Back in February when the department requested applications, Joshua said that Planning will send its recommendations to Gov. Charles Turnbull. The governor will then forward them to the Legislature.
Joshua said that, historically, Turnbull doesn't make any changes to Planning's recommendations. He said that, however, the Legislature usually makes a few changes in what organization gets the money and how much organizations get.
For more information on the Block Grant program, contact Community Development Specialist Ruthlyn White at 774-3320, extension 5179.
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