Johnson County residents and agencies invited to provide feedback on the 2024 plan for Community Development Block Grants
Community Development Block Grants are used in Johnson County cities to leverage significant community projects and help provide for some of the community’s most vulnerable residents.
As plans are made for allocating those funds in 2024, the public has several options for providing feedback on where these federal funds should be invested.
Johnson County Government administers the CDBG program for its cities (except Overland Park and Shawnee who administer their own programs.) Each year, Johnson County allocates federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for those with low to moderate income.
“Up to 15% of the total award, after administration expenses are allocated, goes to public service agencies that directly benefit low-to-moderate income individuals,” said Johnson County Government’s Community Development Coordinator Leslie Davis. “The remaining allocation is awarded to eligible community development projects like sewer rehabilitation, lighting upgrades, sidewalk and street repairs, as well as ADA accessibility improvements.”
Friends of JCDS is a non-profit organization that creates affordable and accessible housing and helps support basic needs for people in Johnson County who have an intellectual or developmental disability. This organization has benefited from the CDBG program.
“It’s very difficult to find accessible and affordable housing in Johnson County,” says Friends of JCDS Chief Executive Officer Janel Bowers. “CDBG funds play an important role in helping us provide homes with features such as accessible bathrooms and ramps, helping the people we serve live as independently as possible.”
Johnson County is looking for public input as it starts to craft its 2024 Action Plan which will ultimately be voted on by the Board of County Commissioners. The public has several options to weigh in:
- For the first time, an online needs assessment survey is available at jocogov.org/needsassessment.
- Residents can attend a public hearing on March 8 at 2 p.m. in person (Johnson County Administration Building, 111 S. Cherry St. in Olathe, second floor, suite 2000) or via Zoom. Find more details on the public hearing.
- Input can also be provided via phone at 913-715-2245, or via email at [email protected].
Rita Carr, Director of Community Planning for United Community Services of Johnson County, explains why public feedback on this topic is so important.
“The phrase ‘nothing about us without us’ really goes to the heart of the importance of hearing from the public,” says Carr. “Johnson County needs to hear from residents and the agencies who serve them to ensure this funding is being allocated to the areas with the biggest need.”
Davis, Bowers and Carr had an in-depth conversation about CDBG funds on the most recent episode of the JoCo on the Go podcast, available wherever you download podcasts and as a webcast on the county’s YouTube channel.