Government

2017 Caper Report

CR-05 – Goals and Outcomes

Progress the jurisdiction has made in carrying out its strategic plan and its action plan.  91.520(a)

This could be an overview that includes major initiatives and highlights that were proposed and executed throughout the program year.

 

In FY2017 the City of Bessemer provided sixteen(16) Emergency Housing Repair Grants totaling $77,985.00 and two (2) Housing Rehabilitation Loans totaling $120,598.78. $53,661.87 from FY2016 Action Plan was spent under the Public Services in the summer of 2017 for the Camp Bessemer program. All  $53,661.87 in CDBG funding under the Public Services category from the 2017 Action Plan was moved by substantial amendment to the Public Facilities category for Signage. $50,000.00 was moved by Substantial amendment of the FY 2015 Action Plan, from the Asset Allocation activity, to Park and Recreation for a drainage project in Roosevelt Park. The Economic and Community Development Department conducted programs designed to market CDBG Housing and Homeownership programs. Seminars were coducted in partnership with local banks to provide information to citizens interested in financing homes through the private sector. The Lincoln Theater project, which should result in the expenditure of $100,000.00 in CDBG funds, began the environmental review process in conjunction with the State of Alabama’s Historic Commission as part of the Historic Grant Pprogram. 

Comparison of the proposed versus actual outcomes for each outcome measure submitted with the consolidated plan and explain, if applicable, why progress was not made toward meeting goals and objectives.  91.520(g)

Categories, priority levels, funding sources and amounts, outcomes/objectives, goal outcome indicators, units of measure, targets, actual outcomes/outputs, and percentage completed for each of the grantee’s program year goals.

 

Goal

Category

Source / Amount

Indicator

Unit of Measure

Expected – Strategic Plan

Actual – Strategic Plan

Percent Complete

Expected – Program Year

Actual – Program Year

Percent Complete

Economic Development Loan

 

CDBG: $

Facade treatment/business building rehabilitation

Business

8

0

         0.00%

5

0

         0.00%

Economic Development Loan

 

CDBG: $

Jobs created/retained

Jobs

8

0

         0.00%

5

0

         0.00%

Economic Development Loan

 

CDBG: $

Businesses assisted

Businesses Assisted

8

0

         0.00%

5

0

         0.00%

Emergency Housing Repair Grants

Affordable Housing
Non-Homeless Special Needs

CDBG: $

Homeowner Housing Added

Household Housing Unit

 

 

 

35

16

        45.71%

Emergency Housing Repair Grants

Affordable Housing
Non-Homeless Special Needs

CDBG: $

Homeowner Housing Rehabilitated

Household Housing Unit

179

59

        32.96%

 

 

 

Housing Rehabilitation Loans

Affordable Housing

CDBG: $

Homeowner Housing Rehabilitated

Household Housing Unit

35

8

        22.86%

12

2

        16.67%

Public Facilities

Non-Housing Community Development

CDBG: $

Public Facility or Infrastructure Activities other than Low/Moderate Income Housing Benefit

Persons Assisted

27000

0

         0.00%

27000

0

         0.00%

Public Services

Non-Housing Community Development

CDBG: $

Public Facility or Infrastructure Activities other than Low/Moderate Income Housing Benefit

Persons Assisted

0

0

 

 

 

 

Public Services

Non-Housing Community Development

CDBG: $

Public service activities other than Low/Moderate Income Housing Benefit

Persons Assisted

375

150

        40.00%

75

0

         0.00%

Table 1 – Accomplishments – Program Year & Strategic Plan to Date

 

 

Assess how the jurisdiction’s use of funds, particularly CDBG, addresses the priorities and specific objectives identified in the plan, giving special attention to the highest priority activities identified.

PRIORITY #1: To provide rehabilitation assistance to low, and low to moderate homeowners by upgrading the existing stock of affordable housing through rehabilitation of structures classified as substandard, but suitable for rehabilitation. To bring housing into compliance with the International Housing CODE. To provide assistance for repairs to maintain housing stock in a decent, safe and sanitary condition. To limit the loss of affordable housing and to promote and provide for rehabilitation of historic properties. During FY2017 The City provided 16 Emergency Housing Repair Grants and 2 Housing Rehabilitation Loan.

PRIORITY #5: To address the needs of the elderly and disabled by providing Rehabilitation Loans and Emergency Repair grants to elderly homeowners, of low to moderate income, to address health, safety, stability and accessibility issues and to maintain the stock of affordable housing at the highest level possible. Sixteen (16) Emergency Housing Repair Grants were provided in FY2017 for elderly and disabled persons.

Please Note: The housing rehabiltation numbers given under the Emergency Grant Category as “Homeowner Housing Added” should read “Homeowner Housing Rehabilitated”.***

 


CR-10 – Racial and Ethnic composition of families assisted

Describe the families assisted (including the racial and ethnic status of families assisted). 91.520(a)

 

 

CDBG

White

2

Black or African American

16

Asian

0

American Indian or American Native

0

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

0

 

 

 

 

Total

18

 

 

 

 

 

Hispanic

0

Not Hispanic

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2 – Table of assistance to racial and ethnic populations by source of funds

 

Narrative

During Program Year 2017 eighteen (18) families were assisted under the City of Bessemer’s Housing Rehabilitation programs. Sixteen (16) were assisted under the Emergency Housing Rehabilitation Repair Grant program and two (2) were assisted under the Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program. Of those served sixteen (16) were African American and two (2) were White. $77,985.00 was disbursed under the Emergency Housing Repair Grant program and $120,598.78 was disbursed under the Housing Rehabilitation program. The Emergency Housing Repair Grant program is designed to address the needs of the Elderly and disabled by providing repairs that directly address a given disability and items that address health and safety. Wheel Chair Ramps and renovations that address the American’s With Disabilities Act are typical uses of funds. In these cases the Housing Rehabilitation Loan program included standard Housing Rehabilitation loans for existing homeowners and loans to new homebuyers for the purchase and rehabilitation of existing housing.

In addition to the accomplishmentioned above, it should be noted that during FY 2017 The City of Bessemer’s Department of Economic and Community Development met with and processed the applications and inquiries of 150 Emergency Housing Repair Grant applicants, 25 Housing Rehabilitation Loan applicants, 15 Economic Development Loan applicants, 5 Historic Facade Grant applicants. In addition the department maintained a group of some 20 contractors for various programs.

 


CR-15 – Resources and Investments 91.520(a)

Identify the resources made available

Source of Funds

Source

Resources Made Available

Amount Expended During Program Year

CDBG

CDBG

790,611

583,146

HOME

HOME

 

 

HOPWA

HOPWA

 

 

ESG

ESG

 

 

Other

Other

 

 

Table 3 – Resources Made Available

 

Narrative

The City of Bessemer received $515,279.00 in CDBG Entitlement funds for fiscal year 2017. $14,768.19 was paid in AUgust of 2018 from CDBG Entitlement funds for program administration costs incurred in FY2017. This adjustment appears on line 14 and line 40 of the corrected PR-26 report for FY2017 included with the submission of this CAPER. All other funding derived from Prior Year’s Entitlement Funds, the Housing Revolving Loan fund, Economic Development Revolving Loan fund and Program Income generated from the HOPE 3 program. The City of Bessemer’s CDBG Administrative Costs and Delivery costs for staff salaries operate on a reimbursement basis to the City’s General Fund. All programs are conducted on a City Wide basis.

 

Identify the geographic distribution and location of investments

Target Area

Planned Percentage of Allocation

Actual Percentage of Allocation

Narrative Description

 

 

 

 

Table 4 – Identify the geographic distribution and location of investments

 

Narrative

All CDBG related programs are designed to serve low-to-moderate income individuals on a City-Wide basis. That is all areas of the City of Bessemer are served by CDBG related Housing Programs and are based on low-to-moderate income eligibility rather than a specific geographic area. All Entitlement based CDBG programs are designed to serve low and low to moderate income individuals. 100% of Housing Revolving Loan based programs serve low and Low-to-Moderate income persons. All Economic Development Revolving Loan based programs are designed to create jobs for low-to-modrate income persons. 

 

Leveraging

Explain how federal funds  leveraged additional resources (private, state and local funds), including a description of how matching requirements were satisfied, as well as how any publicly owned land or property located within the jurisdiction that were used to address the needs identified in the plan.

The City annually designates $125,000.00 from its General Fund for Camp Bessemer, a public service activity, and budgeted $53,661.59 from CDBG for the same project. However, the City amended the 2017 budget to move the $53,661.59 to a public facilities project, thus Camp Bessemer was cancelled relative to FY2017 CDBG funding. The City anticipates paying for the Camp Bessemer project from the summer of 2018 with FY 2018 CDBG funds. The City committed $250,000.00 for City Wide Blighted Housing Clearance from its General Fund allowing CDBG funds to be used for other housing purposes. The City also partners with various groups including the United Way, JCCEO, and Habitat for Humanity to provide Housing services CDBG funds cannot address. Habitat for Humanity plans to build fifteen (15) new houses in Bessemer in 2018 and another ten (10) new houses in 2019.

 

 


CR-20 – Affordable Housing 91.520(b)

Evaluation of the jurisdiction’s progress in providing affordable housing, including the number and types of families served, the number of extremely low-income, low-income, moderate-income, and middle-income persons served.

 

 

One-Year Goal

Actual

Number of Homeless households to be provided affordable housing units

0

0

Number of Non-Homeless households to be provided affordable housing units

0

0

Number of Special-Needs households to be provided affordable housing units

0

0

Total

0

0

Table 11 – Number of Households

 

 

 

 

One-Year Goal

Actual

Number of households supported through Rental Assistance

0

0

Number of households supported through The Production of New Units

0

0

Number of households supported through Rehab of Existing Units

12

2

Number of households supported through Acquisition of Existing Units

0

0

Total

12

2

Table 12 – Number of Households Supported

 

 

Discuss the difference between goals and outcomes and problems encountered in meeting these goals.

The City of Bessemer believes the overall goals of the  projections in its Consolidated Plan for FY2015-FY2019 related to housing can be achieved, but the numbers for FY2017 indicate additional outreach will be necessary to achieve those goals.. The City disbursed $77,985.00 for 16 Emergency Housing Repair Grants in FY2017. This was below expectations so the City has instituted additional outreach in order to increase the number Emergency Grants. The  City was able to complete two (2) Housing Rehabilitation Loan totaling $120,598.78. Poor credit ratings impacted the opportunity to underwrite the forecast number of Housing Rehabilitation loans for FY2017 and in general the income levels of most eligible residents are too low for them to be comfortable with repaying a mortgage loan so it may be that altering the focus from pure rehab to programs like Buy/Rehab/Sell will be necessary. It should be noted that several Rehabilitation Loans made it to the closing process only to fail for various legal reasons. The financial collapse of 2008 continues to effect the ability of individuals at and below the low-to-moderate income level to qualify for loans. Credit requirements, although moderate, have proven to be difficult for many people to meet due to the financial hardships cause by the recession. The City plans to convert its Revolving Loan Fund to Entitlement Funds and reallocate a significant portion of those funds to Emergency Grants in FY2018 because such grants address the areas of greatest need in the community. Housing Rehabilitation loans continue to be challenging due to the lack  of credit worthiness of most applicants, the exceptionally low income levels of most applicants and the after rehabilitation value of many properties. 

Discuss how these outcomes will impact future annual action plans.

Future Action Plans will likely focus on Housing Grants, Deferred Loans, Public Services, Public Improvements and Economic Development activities related to the removal of Slum and Blight in the City’s National Historic District, although smaller sums will be directed to Economic Development Loans designed to facilitate Job Crteation. Clearance will be entirely financed by the City’s General Fund. The needs of those with disabilities continues to rise as the population ages and housing stock grows older. Therefore, Emergency Housing Repair Grants will continue to be a central tenent of the CDBG program for the City of Bessemer. The Emergency Housing Repair Grant is designed to address the needs of the elderly and the disabled with repairs specific to addressing disabilities through compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act and Health and Safety. Bessemer has a large elderly population that is addressed by this program. While not a direct part of the action plan the City will continue to pursue partnerships with agencies like JCCEO, The Woodlawn Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, The Veterans Administration and the Bessemer Public Housing Authority to leverage funds and increase outreach. In the case of elderly applicants on fixed incomes standard rehabilitation loans are not feasible because of expense while and grants are not adequate to address all the repairs necessary for many properties. Based on available funding the City will look to Deferred Rehabilitation loans to address the needs of the elderly in the upcoming fiscal year.

Include the number of extremely low-income, low-income, and moderate-income persons served by each activity where information on income by family size is required to determine the eligibility of the activity.

 

 

 

 

 

Number  of Households Served

CDBG Actual

HOME Actual

Extremely Low-income

15

0

Low-income

1

0

Moderate-income

2

0

Total

18

0

Table 13 – Number of Households Served

 

 

Narrative Information

All City Housing programs are designed to serve individuals at or below the Low-to-Moderate income level. In addition, the majority of programs are designed to address the needs of the elderly and disabled. For instance, the Emergency Housing Repair Grant is targeted to elderly and disabled home owners with the goal of addressing specific repairs that address disabilities, as well as health and safety. Typical projects include wheel chair ramps and ADA bathroom and other issues of access. The demand for grant funds from those with disabilities exceeds available funding. By partnering with outside agencies the City has and hopes to continue to raise the effective funding of the CDBG program to a level commensurate with grant levels before reductions began.

The City has no programs designed to address rental property or “Worst Case Needs” of renters, specifically. However, the City does work with the One Roof organization to address the needs of the homeless. Therefore, the worst case needs of  the homeless are addressed. It should be noted the City receives no ESG funding.

 

 


CR-25 – Homeless and Other Special Needs 91.220(d, e); 91.320(d, e); 91.520(c)

Evaluate the jurisdiction’s progress in meeting its specific objectives for reducing and ending homelessness through:

Reaching out to homeless persons (especially unsheltered persons) and assessing their individual needs

The City of Bessemer works with One Roof, the area Continuum of Care, to reduce homeless numbers in our jurisdiction. Overall homeless numbers in the jurisdiction exhibited a declining trend form early calendar year 2017, when the number was 875, to the end of the CDBG fiscal year when numbers had dropped to 533 sheltered persons. While this is a recorded decrease of 342 sheltered people, it must be noted that the Continuum also recorded a loss of 554 available beds.

Addressing the emergency shelter and transitional housing needs of homeless persons

The emergency shelter bed count for calendar 2017 was 540 while the end of CDBG fiscal year count was only 431. The transitional bed count for 2017 was 304 and dropped to 219 in 2018. The change in ES and TH beds was a total loss of 194 temporary beds, and while this number is significant, it still does not account for the decrease of 342 sheltered people. The CoC is comfortable that the process of identifying the most vulnerable people through Coordinated Assessment and housing them combined with the availability of Rapid Rehousing dollars, is starting to make true differences in homeless numbers. 

Unfortunately, we have not seen corresponding decreases in the unsheltered population. Total number of unsheltered persons identified in 2017 was 217 and we showed only a 3 person decrease in 2018 with the identification of 214 unsheltered persons. This leads us to be concerned about the availability of affordable, low/no barrier housing that is immediately available for our population with the most barriers such as long/ exceedingly long term homelessness, felony backgrounds, mental illness and substance abuse. The changes in the chronic homeless numbers support this. We see that we had 31 chronically homeless people sheltered in 2017 but increased that number to 95 in 2018. We know that we had 92 chronically homeless people unsheltered in 2017 and decreased that number to only 24 in 2018. This shows us that we are able to get our chronically homeless into shelter, but that we are challenged to move them out into permanent housing.

Helping low-income individuals and families avoid becoming homeless, especially extremely low-income individuals and families and those who are:  likely to become homeless after being discharged from publicly funded institutions and systems of care (such as health care facilities, mental health facilities, foster care and other youth facilities, and corrections programs and institutions);  and,  receiving assistance from public or private agencies that address housing, health, social services, employment, education, or youth needs

This jurisdiction supports the Continuum efforts to keep people from becoming homeless after being discharged from institutions and systems of care. There are State Discharge Policies in place that strictly prohibit youth from being discharged from foster care and other youth facilities into homelessness, that prohibit State mental health facilities from discharging a person into homelessness, and that prohibit some correctional facilities from discharging into homelessness. The Continuum actively coordinates with Health Care entities to prohibit discharge into homelessness even though no official policy exists. The continuum is actively working to develop Medical Respite Care believing that the availability of this specialized housing for homeless persons would further the development of Health Care discharge policies.

The City of Bessemer also supports efforts of the Continuum to develop a Continuum-wide Coordinated Assessment. This fledgling program is run out of One Roof, the Continuum lead, and currently utilizes the VI-SPDAT 2.0 or the TAY-VI-SPDAT to evaluate and rank for vulnerability all homeless persons prior to placement into any CoC-funded projects. One Roof Coordinated Assessment is available by telephone and in person, thus making it accessible to the complete geography. The City of Bessemer believes that full implementation of the Coordinated Assessment, including the addition of the mainstream benefits providers, will further prevent homelessness.

Helping homeless persons (especially chronically homeless individuals and families, families with children, veterans and their families, and unaccompanied youth) make the transition to permanent housing and independent living, including shortening the period of time that individuals and families experience homelessness, facilitating access for homeless individuals and families to affordable housing units, and preventing individuals and families who were recently homeless from becoming homeless again

We saw the number of Unaccompanied Youth (under 25) go down from 125 in early 2017 to just 22 by the beginning of FY 2018. We know that with the federal push to identify and serve these young people we have done a better job of finding and counting them. From this dramatic decrease we also know that the Rapid Rehousing programs we have put in place are doing their job and decreasing the number of Unaccompanied Youth on our streets. We did see the number of Domestic Violence victims decrease from 135 in 2017 to 100 in 2018, but we also know that we lost Domestic Violence dedicated housing during this time, so do not believe this is a significant decrease.

We must increase the availability of affordable, low/no barrier, and immediately available permanent housing. That will both prevent some homelessness and end other homelessness.

 

CR-30 – Public Housing 91.220(h); 91.320(j)

Actions taken to address the needs of public housing

PHA GOAL #1: EXPAND THE SUPPLY OF ASSISTED HOUSING

The PHA established the following objectives to strive in meeting goal #1:

Leverage private or other public funds to create additional housing opportunities

Acquire or build units or developments

Progress Statement: BHA closed 1st RADs, in 2015 and received a Portfolio RAD

approval in 2015. RAD 2 was closed in 2016 and RAD III closed in 2017.

PHA GOAL #2: INCREASE ASSISTED HOUSING CHOICES

The PHA established the following objectives to strive in meeting goal #2

Implement voucher homeownership program

Implement public housing or other homeownership programs

Convert public housing to vouchers

Progress Statement:

It should be noted that one of the primary goals for public housing in general is to assist residents in transitioning to home ownership. The Bessemer Public Housing Authority has programs in place to teach residents about home ownwership. These programs include educational components, but they also facilitate saving for down payments and other practical aspects of the home ownership process. The City of Bessemer seeks to address the needs of Public Housing and the desire to assist residents in transitiong to housing, by making the CDBG Buy/Rehab/Sell housing program available to program graduates. This program provides mortgage loans to residents to purchase and rehabilitate houses in the City of Bessemer. Public housing residents with good credit who have taken responsible actions to become home owners are an excellent fit for the Buy/Rehab/Sell program and the program, by virtue of its ability to provide low interest loans to persons that might have difficulty securing bank loans, is a strong vehicle to help residents secure mortgages in situations where they might not otherwise be able to. The Bessemer Public Housing Authority refers eligible partiocipants to the City of Bessemer for program participation.

Actions taken to encourage public housing residents to become more involved in management and participate in homeownership

PHA GOAL #3: PROMOTE SELF-SUFFICIENCY AND ASSET DEVELOPMENT

OF ASSISTED HOUSEHOLDS

The PHA established the following objectives to strive in meeting goal #3

Increase the number and percentage of employed persons in assisted families

Provide or attract supportive services to improve assistance recipients’ employability

Progress Statement:

Expand FSS as a major 2017-2018 goal BHA

BHA will continue its ROSS Grant efforts and objective

BHA will expand FSS Program by increasing overall focus and adding strong link with United Way IDS.

The City of Bessemer has cooperated with the Bessemer Public Housing Authority to assist residents who participate in their home ownership transition program. The Bessemer Public Housing Authority refers resident who have completed the program to the Bessemer Economic and Community Development Department for their participation in the CDBG funded Buy/Rehab/Sell program. These participants, who are low to moderate in income, have saved money for a down payment and they have participated in home ownership and credit classes. As such the referrals from the Bessemer Public Housing Authority are excellent fits for the Buy/Rehab/Sell program, which is designed to provide housing for first time home buyers. The City has also conducted public housing seminars that included Public Housing Residents. These seminars teach basic home ownership, but they also explain CDBG housing programs that are available in Bessemer.

 

Actions taken to provide assistance to troubled PHAs

Actions taken to provide assistance to troubled PHAs

The Bessemer Public Housing Authority is not a troubled PHA. The City of Bessemer’s Economic and Community Development Department has a strong relationship with the PHA. The PHA has an ongoing program to help residents transition to permanent housing and the City of Bessemer, through CDBG Housing Programs, works actively with the PHA to assist as many persons as possible who are referred by the PHA. In addition the PHA and the Economic and Community Development Department regularly cooperate in bringing programs to the elderly and disabled citizens through public meetings and forums. The PHA, The City of Bessemer and Habitat for Humanity plan to work together to assist eligible PHA residents find permanent housing in the City of Bessemer.

CR-35 – Other Actions 91.220(j)-(k); 91.320(i)-(j)

Actions taken to remove or ameliorate the negative effects of public policies that serve as barriers to affordable housing such as land use controls, tax policies affecting land, zoning ordinances, building codes, fees and charges, growth limitations, and policies affecting the return on residential investment. 91.220 (j); 91.320 (i)

No actions have been or are necessary to remove or ameliorate the negative effects of public policies that serve as barriers to affordable housing at the local level. State laws regarding the ability of the City to gain control of properties from Clearance activities continue to need reform and the State Legislature has been on a trajectory to address that reform. The City maintains a coherant zoning plan with the ability to change as necessary. Building CODES are similar to the vast majority of Alabama cities. Fees and charges are moderate. The City encompasses more that 40 square miles of property that is suitable to develop. There are no policies negatively effecting return on residential development.

Actions taken to address obstacles to meeting underserved needs.  91.220(k); 91.320(j)

The deterioration of the infrastructure associated with low and moderate-income neighborhoods is viewed by the City as a contributing factor in creating blight and must be addressed in order to stabilize neighborhoods. The Clearance program now funded by the City of Bessemer ($250,000.00 in FY2012, FY2013, FY2014, FY2016 and FY2017) addresses the blight of residential and commercial structures and residential safety. 302 Blighted Structures have been demolished in the City of Bessemer since in 2011. The City provides a wide variety of CDBG funded Housing Loan and Grant programs designed to serve low and low-to-moderate income individuals with a focus on the elderly and disabled. The City provides housing grants designed to address housing repairs and improvements associated with disabilities. The grant program can, in many cases, allow homeowners to continue living indepentdently in their homes.The City also works to refer individuals to the Bessemer Public Housing Authority as necessary and the CIty partners with Habitat for Humanity to accomplish rehabilitation in situations that are not appropriate for CDBG funds.

 

Actions taken to reduce lead-based paint hazards. 91.220(k); 91.320(j)

The City of Bessemer follows all rules and regulations regarding the reduction of Lead Based Paint. The City provides testing in every instance where a painted surface could be disturbed by repairs or assumes the existence of lead based paint and proceeds appropriately. The City also notifies all participants of the dangers of lead based paint. Contractors working under the CDBG program are required to have all the certifications necessary to allow for the proper abatement of lead based paint hazards. The City has followed this policy consistently for many years.

Actions taken to reduce the number of poverty-level families. 91.220(k); 91.320(j)

The City has an active and aggressive economic development program that has attracted retail and industrial jobs. These jobs have a direct effect of improving the economic status of families throughout Bessemer. New Businesses such as the Dollar General distribution center, the Tannehill Promenade, Amsted Rail and Amazon have and will continue add literally thousands of jobs to the Bessemer economy. In the long term the City has invested in a Public Services project for youth job training known as Camp Bessemer. The City contributes approximately $125,000.00 annually to the program and an annual contribution of over $50,000.00  from CDBG funds is also made to the program. All the economic development activities of the City, including the acquisition of the Amazon Distribution Center and the Dollar General Distribution center contribute to the economic well being of every Bessemer citizen and improve the opportunities for employment.

Actions taken to develop institutional structure. 91.220(k); 91.320(j)

The City has taken action to more effectively utilize all the departments that could impact housing related matters and well as matters related to Public Service and Public Facilities. The Housing and Inspections Department inspects and identifies non-conforming CODE conditions and assures those conditions are rectified as part of the process involving Housing Rehabilitation Loans. Economic and Community Devolpent Department personnel are trained and licensed in Lead Based Paint procedures and the Environmental Review process. The Economic and Community Development Department also has personnel trained in GIS mapping systems to assist in the Environmental Review process. These steps have worked to provide a comprehensive approach to move a given project from inception to completion as efficiently as possible.

Actions taken to enhance coordination between public and private housing and social service agencies. 91.220(k); 91.320(j)

The City of Bessemer has addressed and plans to continue addressing the problems associated with the poor condition of its housing stock and the opportunities for home ownership with its CDBG Housing Program. The City, as a CDBG entitlement, has a broad and effective housing program designed to provide loans and grants to improve housing and to provide opportunities for home ownership. The City has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to implement a program to buy and demolish dilapidated housing. In addition, the City allocated $250,000.00 annually in General Funds to demolish blighted housing as part of it’s annual FY2017 budget.  The City has begun a partnership with Habitat for Humanity for housing rehabilitation and new construction. The partnership will serve to leverage City rehabilitation funds and take advantage of the properties acquired through demolition.  Recently the Authority undertook the complete renovation of two large multi-family facilities, demolished one entire multi-family complex and has begun the process of building 10 single family homes in a Bessemer subdivision. The Economic Development Department and the Bessemer Public Housing Authority actively work to provide opportunities for home ownership to persons transitioning from public housing.

Housing is an ongoing issue, but existing programs, initiatives and partnerships are and will continue to address those issues at an increasing rate.

Identify actions taken to overcome the effects of any impediments identified in the jurisdictions analysis of impediments to fair housing choice.  91.520(a)

Transportation: The City contributes to the Jefferson County Mass Transit System. The City has conducted transportation studies in the past and is presently in the process of participating in a study with the Regional Planning Commission in hope of facilitating the construction of a transit hub.

Employment/Economic Development: The City has attracted new business and help grow existing concerns. Incentives for attracting investment include such tools as tax abatements and Tax Increment Financing. The City recently landed an Amazon Fulfillment Center that is expected to create between 1500 and 3000 jobs. The Tannehill Promenade was a new development when the last CDBG Consolidated Plan and Fair Housing Plan was considered. The $100,000,000.00 development has provided hundreds of new jobs and has been an economic engine providing close to a 30% increase in the City’s tax base relative to FY 2010. Construction of the Dollar General Distribution Center has added approximately 600 jobs in its first phase and is expected to provide over 1000 jobs when completely implemented. The CSX Intermodal facility made great strides toward the revitalization of the old Pullman Standard facility and created 12 new jobs. The Tannehill Promenade continued to grow with the opening of the new Michaels store added in October of 2012 and Firehouse Subs was added in May of 2012. A new warehousing facility adjoining the new Norfolk Southern Intermodal facility adjacent to Bessemer will create more than 1000 jobs. The re-opening of the Amsted Rail/Griffin Wheel plant provided 150 jobs. Precision Grinding’s expansion resulted in 25 new jobs. The $50,000,000.00 US Pipe development added 100 jobs. The $21,000,000.00 Intertec development of 2013 is expected to add 100 jobs when it is complete. The City was also involved in bringing other businesses to Bessemer that brought upwards of $34,000,000.00 in development to the downtown area. Some of the more notable projects in process and in place include the conversion of the Masonry Arts Company to JB Processing, LLC with an expected 30 new jobs, the opening of Steyr Arms USA and the expansion of Milo’s Tea. The City is addressing needs associated with employment at an exceptional rate.

Poor Housing Stock: The City has allocated $250,000.00 annually in General Funds to demolish blighted housing during this Consolidated Planning period. The City is demolishing, on average, 120 houses per year.

The City has begun a partnership with Habitat for Humanity new housing construction. The partnership will serve to leverage City in-kind contributions and take advantage of the properties acquired through demolition. Habitat for Humanity will build ten new houses in Bessemer in October in 2018 and will build an additional five (5) homes later in the year. Habitat for Humanity are also working to build another 10 new houses in Bessemer in FY 2019.

Housing for the Disabled: The City works with its Police Department, Fire Department and institutions like the UAB West Hospital to identify homeowners who have housing needs relative to disabilities. The City routinely builds wheelchair ramps and makes repairs related to the American’s With Disabilities Act, as well as addressing many of the other needs of disabled persons, through its CDBG funded Emergency Housing Grant program. In many cases the repairs facilitated by the Emergency Housing Repair Grant program serve to allow the disabled to continue living in the own homes

Poor Credit Scores: The City has partnered with organizations to provide credit counseling services to CDBG loan applicants to address a primary impediment to Fair Housing.

Please see the Fair Housing attachment for complete details.

 

CR-40 – Monitoring 91.220 and 91.230

Describe the standards and procedures used to monitor activities carried out in furtherance of the plan and used to ensure long-term compliance with requirements of the programs involved, including minority business outreach and the comprehensive planning requirements

The City of Bessemer’s Department of Economic and Community Development reviews all annual plan goals and projects on a quarterly basis, with more frequent reviews on those items requiring additional oversight. The purpose of such monitoring reviews is to determine that all programs are being carried out in accordance with the Consolidated Plan, and to ensure that statutory and regulatory requirements, including Section 3 requirements, are being met. Special attention is given to maintaining an expenditure rate that exceeds HUD’s expectation of having no more than 1.5 years of grant funds available on the City’s federal treasury letter of credit on the annual test date. The City now requires determination of Section 3 status as part of the contractor application process. The City requires that Section 3 certification status is included on all of commercial and residental contractors and will monitor to ensure related regulations are followed as pertains to minority participation. The City will include preference for Section 3 certification in all commercial and residential contracts. Public Facility monitoring is conducted by City Engineering, Building Inspections and Economic & Community Development. Economic & Community Development conducts onsite inspections of Public Facilities projects, during construction, on a weekly basis. Economic Development projects are monitored by Building Inspections and the Economic & Community Development. Economic & Community Development conducts onsite inspections of Economic Development projects, during coonstruction, on a weekly basis. Job creation is monitored on a bi-annual basis for economic development projects. Housing Rehabilitation projects are monitored by Building Inspection and Economic & Community Development. Housing Rehabilitation projects are monitored on at least a weekly basis while they are under construction. Public Service projects are monitored by Economic & Community Development to assure that all activities are appropriately documented prior to disbursement of funds. 

 

 

 

Citizen Participation Plan 91.105(d); 91.115(d)

Describe the efforts to provide citizens with reasonable notice and an opportunity to comment on performance reports.

The City of Bessemer Economic and Community Development Department advertises CDBG activities in local newspapers, posts notices in public facilities and on public electric signage and posts notices on its web page to inform the public and provide a means for the public to comment during the Consolidated Plan and Action Plan development process and on the documents themselves. Advertising is also done to inform as to the availibility of performance reports like the CAPER. The City also holds public meetings to discuss the CDBG program in general and accomplishments within the CDBG program specifically. Documents like the Consolidated Plan, Action Plan and CAPER are posted online are made available at City Hall and the Public Library for public inspection. The City also posts signage in public buildings in English and Spanish and makes translations of any publically advertised document avaiable to citizens at their request. The City provides translation services as necessary. Accomodations for access those with disabilities who attend public meetings is met through compliance with the American’s with Disabilites Act for all public facilities used for meetings. At present City Hall, an American’s with Disabilities Act compliant facility, is used for public meetings. All future advertising efforts will include public service announcements on radio and television, to the extent possible, to provide reasonable notice and an opportunity to comment to those with sight impairments while those with hearing impairments are addressed through newspapers, public postings and the internet. Citizens are afforded the opportunity to comment during public meetings and in writing during the Consolidated and Action Plan processes. In addition to the aforementioned advertising methods all planned Action Plan and Consolidated planning meetings are announced during City Council meetings in open session. Copies of the Consolidated Plan, Action Plan and CAPER are maintained for public access in the Mayor’s Office, Economic and Community Development Office and Office of the City Clerk.

CR-45 – CDBG 91.520(c)

Specify the nature of, and reasons for, any changes in the jurisdiction’s program objectives and indications of how the jurisdiction would change its programs as a result of its experiences.

Given the reduction in funding in recent years and the demand for housing services Housing is likely to become a greater focus. As a result economic development programs funded by CDBG related revolving funds may be reduced or discontinued to provide additional funding for housing programs. Emergency Housing Repair Grants will continue to be a primary focus. Housing Rehabilitaion Loans and Reconstruction may increase as a result of the partnership with Habitat for Humanity and their ability to leverage funds. The City has moved Clearance projects from CDBG funding to funding by the General Fund. Clearance issues are also likely to be impacted by the City’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Does this Jurisdiction have any open Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) grants?

No

 [BEDI grantees]  Describe accomplishments and program outcomes during the last year.

 

 

CR-45 – CDBG 91.520(c)

Specify the nature of, and reasons for, any changes in the jurisdiction’s program objectives and indications of how the jurisdiction would change its programs as a result of its experiences.

Given the reduction in funding in recent years and the demand for housing services Housing is likely to become a greater focus. As a result economic development programs funded by CDBG related revolving funds may be reduced or discontinued to provide additional funding for housing programs. Emergency Housing Repair Grants will continue to be a primary focus. Housing Rehabilitaion Loans and Reconstruction may increase as a result of the partnership with Habitat for Humanity and their ability to leverage funds. The City has moved Clearance projects from CDBG funding to funding by the General Fund. Clearance issues are also likely to be impacted by the City’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity.

Does this Jurisdiction have any open Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) grants?

No

[BEDI grantees]  Describe accomplishments and program outcomes during the last year.

 

 

 

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