CGP is the primary source of modernization funds for physical improvements to public housing units and for improvements to the management and operational practices for existing public housing projects for large public housing authorities (PHAs).
Through CGP, HUD makes funds available to help public housing agencies correct physical and management deficiencies and keep units in the housing stock safe and desirable places to live. The CGP gives large PHAs discretion for planning specific improvements and facilitates long-term planning by providing funds annually on a formula basis.
Type of Assistance:
CGP assistance is given in the form of project grants, using a formula that is based on the backlog and accrual of modernization needs.
Only PHAs that are operating PHA-owned low-income housing projects with 250 or more units under an existing Annual Contributions Contract can use the CGP. (Before fiscal year (FY) 1998, Indian Housing Authorities also were eligible for the CGP. Before FY 1993, PHAs had to have 500 or more housing units to use the CGP.)
CGP funds are used to make improvements that benefit public housing residents, who are predominantly families and elderly persons with incomes below 50 percent of the HUD-adjusted median income in their area.
Eligible activities for CGP and the Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program (CIAP) that is used by PHAs with up to 250 units are the same. Funds can be used to fund capital improvements, major repairs, management improvements, and planning costs. The full range of eligible activities is quite broad, also encompassing many types of economic development, self-sufficiency, and resident services initiatives. For troubled PHAs, the CGP can fund technical assistance including private management, receiverships, specialized consultant technical support, and cooperative agreements with a well-run neighboring PHA. Near-troubled PHAs can use the program to prevent their becoming troubled agencies. There are no matching requirements, but the PHA must maintain the improvements and keep the project available to serve low-income families for at least 20 years.
Prior to any application, PHAs consult informally with HUD field offices. PHAs make annual submissions to their HUD field office by following the requirements of 24 CFR Part 968, Subparts A and C, and the CGP Guidebook 7485.3 G. The HUD field office has no more than 75 days to review the annual submission. The field office approves the annual formula funding and related budgets and notifies HUD Headquarters of funding approval. The field office notifies the PHA if its submission is not approved.
The FY 1997 budget earmarked $2.5 billion under the heading "Preserving existing housing investment." This could be used flexibly for capital improvements including the development of additional public housing units, modernization, and technical assistance. The same amount was requested for FY 1998, with $2.128 billion allocated to CGP. Funds are allocated using a statutory formula, after set-asides for emergencies and disasters.
Legal authority for both CGP and the CIAP rests in Section 14 of the Housing Act of 1937. Program regulations are at 24 CFR 968, Subparts A and C. It is administered by William J. Flood, Director, Office of Capital Improvements. Telephone: (202) 708-1640. Currently each field office has a Public Housing Director and Modernization Coordinator. However, major changes will result from the PIH reorganization, and future responsibility for the program may not be at the field office level. The CGP Guidebook 7485.3 G explains how to use CGP. Copies are available from the HUD Direct Distribution Center at 1-800-767-7468.
For More Information:
A 1996 evaluation available from HUD USER, Assessment of the Comprehensive Grant Program, used case studies of 18 PHAs to evaluate CGP. Volume I contains the final report and Volume II presents the case studies. It is available from HUD USER. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) offers training on using the Comprehensive Grant Program at NAHRONet.
Assessment of the Comprehensive Grant Program, Volume II describes how CGP worked in 18 PHAs.