By Laura Brandon
Economic development programs and parks and public improvement projects in Syracuse have taken a hit because the federal government is providing the city with fewer funds for local programs.
"We have steadily been receiving less funding from the federal government each year, so we have had to make cuts in the funding we provide to various community programs," said Patrick Stanczyk, spokesperson for the city department that distributes the federal funds to local programs.
Because housing is the main focus of these federal grants, the Syracuse Department of Community Development (SDCD) has tried to maintain a high level of funding for housing programs, but some of the other program areas have had significant cut-backs as a result, according to Stanczyk, a program analyst for the SDCD.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has about $3.8 billion each year to distribute in the form of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to cities with populations of at least 50,000 to provide support for city and non-profit programs addressing housing, economic and service needs of low and moderate-income residents and neighborhoods, according to Adam Glantz, spokesperson for HUD.
The community development department in each city is responsible for distributing these federal funds to local non-profit organizations and city government programs that work toward the goals of this HUD grant and the priorities outlined by the particular city.
A ten year decline
Syracuse has been receiving less funding from the community development grant each year for the past 10 years or more, according to Stanczyk.
"I do not know all of the factors that go into determining the size of the grant, but the decreased funding might be a result of the overall population decline in Syracuse," Stanczyk said.
Syracuse received $6,079,707 from the CDBG this year, a 3.8 percent decrease from last year's grant funds.