Community Development Block Grant Program
The Township's Community Development Block Grant Funding level varies each year and is contingent on Federal Appropriations and a funding formula utilized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Township's funding level for 2019 was $373,151.00. The Township is permitted to utilize up to 20% of funds for administration of the program and an additional up to 15% for Public Service projects. The Township funded 13 non-profit organizations to provide public service assistance, 4 organizations to provide housing rehabilitation assistance (including the Township's program), and public facility improvement for ADA improvements at the Business Improvement District Offices and retail incubator.
The Township prepares an Annual Action Plan with the assistance of the Mayor's Affordable and Fair Housing Committee input and public input. The Annual Action Plan identifies projects that have been selected to be funded and the funding amount.
Every 5 years the Township Prepares a 5-Year Consolidated Plan. This plan identifies demographic information and spending priorities and policies to be utilized in the annual action plans. The Township will be preparing and submitting a new 5-Year Consolidated Plan in 2020 to cover the time period of 2020-2024.
The Township also prepares an Analysis of Impediments (AI) to Fair Housing, which is typically prepared around the same time as the Consolidated Plan. This reports identifies areas of concern the public has that could limit availability of housing choice to residents. Recommendations to correct these concerns are also identified in the report. The Township is working on a new AI in 2019, which will be completed in 2020.
The Township also prepares various required reports to HUD for Section 3 compliance, environmental review compliance, public outreach compliance, Women and Minority owned business reporting, etc. throughout the year.
Application and Selection of Project Process:
The Township of Toms River has established a transparent application process for non-profits wishing to apply for funding through the Township's CDBG program. Applications are released to the public in December and a public meeting is held in January to answer public questions regarding the application process. This year (FY 2020 funding cycle) the public meeting will be held in December of 2019 due to the fact that the Township must complete the 5-year Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan prior to May 15, 2019. The Consolidated Plan requires additional Public Meetings and meetings with the Mayor's Affordable and Fair Housing committee which has shifted a typical annual meeting schedule.
Applications are due in early February of each year. Applications are reviewed by Township staff. Staff complete a point sheet for each application (points are earned by satisfying each requirement or lost if missing those requirements). The staff then prepares a summary review spreadsheet for the Mayor's Affordable and Fair Housing Committee to review, which also includes the ranking of the project, the priority level, request for funds and number of individuals/households assisting.
The Township will make recommendations of who should be funded based on the review of applications, however the Mayor's Affordable and Fair Housing Committee will provide their input that could alter the agencies that are funded. In addition, public input received at public meeting in February to discuss selection of projects to fund can also alter the final selection of projects. Once projects are selected the Annual Action Plan is prepared. The public is provided with a 30 day review period and 15 day comment period (although the Township permits comments during the 30 day review period as well). The Township also hosts two public meetings to get feedback about the Action Plan. This is the last opportunity for the public to provide feedback that could alter project selection and annual action plan modification. In mid-May the Township submits its Annual Action Plan (and Consolidated Plan if applicable) to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.