MERIDEN — The city is soliciting proposals from non-profits and city departments for its 45th annual Community Development Block Grant program.
The program doles out grant money, given to the city every year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to local agencies and departments for projects and services that seek to benefit low and moderate-income residents.
“It helps fund a lot of social services that we see a need for that are run by the nonprofits that apply,” said Matt Sarcione, community development administrator. Some of the money is also used by the city to repair sidewalks in areas of downtown.
The city began soliciting proposals on Jan. 24 and the application process will close on Feb. 20, Sarcione said. The City Council’s Human Resources Committee will collaborate with city staff to make recommendations for grant recipients to the full City Council, which will then vote on the committee’s recommendations. Any organization that applies for a grant will be required to attend a March 6 public hearing.
Last year, the city awarded slightly more than $1 million in grants through the program. Sarcione said that because HUD doesn’t notify the city how much money it will receive until after the recipients are identified, local officials have to assume Meriden will receive the same level of funding from the previous year while having a plan in place to adjust the grant totals if funding ultimately exceeds or falls below the assumed amount.
The city usually gives awards to about 30 to 40 recipients every year, about 20 to 25 of which are local nonprofits, Sarcione said.
Of the $1 million in funding last year, 28 grants totaling $220,000 went to nonprofits, according to documents the city submitted to HUD. Other notable grants included $144,000 for inner city sidewalk replacements, $136,000 in loans to local businesses for facade improvements, and $108,000 for the city pay to off a loan previously received for the demolition of the former Factory H.
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