Here are 24 Saginaw programs that could receive $1.8 million in block grants

SAGINAW, MI — The city could distribute $1.8 million in federal block grants to 24 programs this year, according to city records.

The Saginaw City Council, at its 6:30 p.m. meeting on Monday, September 12, will vote on the final recommended spending for the city’s annual U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development block grant (often referred to in shorthand as “HUD” or “CDBG program”).

The largest share would provide $394,553 for the rehabilitation of homes in low-to-moderately low-income neighborhoods. Over the years, the program has consistently remained among the top-funded initiatives, although the 2022 recommendation represents a 25% decrease from last year, when the program received $526,597 in block grants.

All but four of the proposals on Monday’s agenda would benefit programs funded through last year’s round of block grants, which totaled $2.2 million.

New to this year’s menu are the cost of renovating a structure known as The Juneteenth Building and funding a youth boxing club.

Among the organizations funded by the 2021 block grants but not included in the 2022 recommendations are Major Chords for Minors; Mission in the City; outreach to the catering community; Saginaw County Community Action Center; and Women of Color, Inc.

Saginaw has benefited annually from the Community Development Block Grant initiative for 48 years.

The city’s funding from the program has fluctuated over time. For example, block grants injected $3 million into Saginaw in 2011. The total fell to $1.7 million in 2019 before bouncing back above the $2 million threshold the following year.

The first draft of block grant recommendations comes from the city council-appointed Human Planning Commission, which reviews applications from organizations across the city. Saginaw City Manager Tim Morales and his staff then review these recommendations before putting them to council for a vote.

The group will assess the new range of block grant recommendations in the Second Floor Council Chambers of City Hall, 1315 S. Washington.

Residents unable to attend the meeting can watch the rally televised live on Charter Spectrum’s channel 191; Or on the city’s YouTube channel. The YouTube channel also provides an archive of council meetings.

Here’s a list of the 24 programs the council will consider on Monday, ranked in order of initiatives that would receive the most money. Asterisks indicate programs not included in 2021 block grant expenditures.

1. Home rehabilitation program: $394,553 ($526,597 in 2021)

The initiative would fund the rehabilitation of housing for low to moderately low income residents.

2. Street improvements: $300,000 (as in 2021)

The city would resurface streets, replace deteriorated pavement, adjust manhole structures and build sidewalk ramps in neighborhoods eligible for block grants.

3. Demolition of destroyed houses: $283,260 ($501,721 in 2021)

The city would demolish an undetermined number of homes to reduce the burn.

4. Saginaw Economic Development Corporation Business Lending Initiative: $150,516 ($126,119 in 2021)

The funds would help the Saginaw Agency provide business loans to entrepreneurs wanting to start or expand businesses in block grant-eligible neighborhoods.

5. Saginaw Specification Writing Program: $129,365 (as in 2021)

Saginaw’s code enforcement officers wrote specifications and monitored construction projects undertaken as part of the housing rehabilitation program.

6. Community policing: $118,837 ($119,967 in 2021)

The Saginaw Police Department would receive financial support to maintain three community police officers assigned to eligible neighborhoods.

7. American with Disabilities Act Compliant Sidewalk Ramps: $80,000 (as in 2021)

Saginaw would build sidewalk ramps for residents with disabilities, all in block grant-eligible neighborhoods.

*8. Saginaw Housing Commission Lighting Project: $61,250

The funds would support updates to the entrance lighting at Town and Garden, 1803 Norman.

*9. Ashrat Co.: $57,846

The funds would support renovations at 1315 N. 5th, also known as the Juneteenth Building.

10. Town Center Development Authority Initiative: $38,000 (as in 2021)

The funds would support Saginaw’s Downtown Development Authority’s efforts to redevelop properties and recruit businesses to the town.

11. Houghton-Jones Neighborhood Task Force Program: $28,841 ($15,000 in 2021)

The funds would support activities – including beautification and other volunteer work – aimed at improving the Houghton-Jones neighborhood as well as funding a staff member to manage day-to-day operations.

12. First Ward Community Services LACER Program: $25,000 (as in 2021)

The funds would support the community organization’s Literacy Arts Cultural Enrichment and Recreation (LACER) program, which offers after-school and summer programs for K-12 students.

13. First Ward Community Services Hiring Program: $18,000 (as in 2021)

The community agency’s Helping Individuals Retain Employment (HIRE) initiative aims to provide young people with work-ready skills and abilities.

*14. Gideon Youth Boxing Club: $16,720

The program would provide funding for a youth boxing program run by Gideon Corp. USA.

15. Saginaw County Youth Welfare Council Innerlink Initiative: $16,000 (as in 2021)

The program would provide social work support to 20 low to middle income families.

16. Saginaw County Youth Welfare Board Teen Parent Support Program: $16,000 (as in 2021)

The initiative would benefit 55 people with the aim of reducing child mortality, preventing child abuse and helping young mothers support their families.

17. Saginaw Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity Home Maintenance Program: $14,000 ($9,592 in 2021)

The initiative would offer housekeeping classes to residents in the areas of plumbing, electrical, as well as interior and exterior repairs.

18. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region Program: $10,000 (as in 2021)

The $10,000 would fund one-on-one mentoring and tutoring services for at-risk youth.

19. First Ward Community Services Seniors Program: $10,000 (as in 2021)

The organization would provide a hub for seniors to socialize and eat meals.

*20. YMCA Seniors Connection: $9,500

The program would help fund the twice-monthly Y-Senior Connect program for seniors.

21. Saginaw Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity Housing Counseling Program: $9,445 (as in 2021)

The funds would support the non-profit Housing Counseling Program, provided to landlords with incomes between 30 and 60% of the region’s median income.

22. Eastern Michigan Legal Services Screening and Education Initiative: $9,318 (as in 2021)

The funds would support education and fair housing testing required by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

23. Hearts for Community Summer Youth Program: $8,000 ($4,000 in 2021)

The $8,000 would fund activities and lunches for children participating in the nonprofit’s summer initiatives.

24. Hearts for the Community After-School Program: $8,000 ($4,000 in 2021)

The funds would support the nonprofit’s after-school initiatives for young people.

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