City to host workshop for community housing funds


Residents of Ames gather Sept. 25, 2018, at City Hall.

Talon Delaney

The City of Ames receives around $500,000 in federal funding each year for its Community Development Block Program (CDBG). The program funds housing developments mainly for low-income residents.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Ames residents can attend an educational workshop about the ins and outs of how CDBG funds will be spent. Residents can also offer their opinions for how the funds should be allocated.

Ames began getting CDBG funds in 2004 and now is subjected to host regular consolidation meetings which detail how these funds will be spent. The next consolidation meeting is scheduled for January 2019. Tuesday’s workshop is just the first part of the city’s consolidation plan. The city must host these meetings once every five years.

“For years we’ve been receiving significant amounts of funding from the Federal Government for specific types of developments,” said Susan Gwiasda, the Ames City public relations officer.

The meeting will begin with a staff report detailing how these funds have been used in the past. Different development specialists will also be there to help guide the workshop process, but Gwiasda emphasized everybody is invited to offer their input.

“It’s completely open to the public,” Gwiasda said. “We’ll be discussing all sorts of topics regarding community housing and infrastructure needs.”

In a press release, the city stated the funds primary goal is to “address the housing and community development needs” of everyone in Ames, including low, moderate and high income residents.

“These funds are extraordinarily helpful to meet the specific goals we’ve set up,” Gwiasda said. “We can use this money to do developments that we wouldn’t be able to fund otherwise, and we can help demographics that really need it.”

This is only the first public forum the city is hosting for the 2019 five-year plan.

A press release from the city states that this meeting will “only focus on the discussion of goals and priorities for the new five-year plan.”

Discussions for specific projects will be detailed at later meetings.

Editor’s Note: This article previously said “City Development Block Grant,” the correct term is “Community Development Block Grant.”  Also, the article originally reported Ames had received CDBG funding since 2000, but it actually began receiving the funds in 2004. The Daily regrets these errors.