Appalling abuse of power by City of Cleveland, Community Development and CDCs

Submitted by lmcshane on Thu, 07/07/2016 - 20:10.

 
The Department of Community Development would like to transfer $619,000 from the SHAP program to the Housing Trust Fund. The posting was made in the June 10th 2016 Friday edition of the Plain Dealer in the “Market Place” location.
Along the way, the Department of Community Development had asked for $619,000
in 2014 to be used for the SHAP program. They had two-years to use the money or it will go back to HUD or the US treasury Department. So from 2014 to 2016 the department of community development did nothing within the two-years. The city has allocated money from the CDBG for the SHAP in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the amount of $280,000 per year. Historically, SHAP funding has always come from the CDBG funds. There should be increased funds for the SHAP program because the low-income senior and disabled population is increasing every year.

Facts about the SHAP program:
SHAP means Senior Housing Assistance Program. It is a grant program for low-income
Seniors age 60 and for disabled residents age 55 and up. The grant is used for health and safety concerns in the home. The grant amount for projects is up to $6500 dollars.

Currently there are 179 SHAP applications in the pipeline with the Department of Community Development.

The first stage of the program is the department of aging which qualifies each candidate. This process would be getting all the necessary documents and collecting a completed application. Then the Department of Aging will send over the completed application and all the documents over to the Department of Community Development. There the application sits until one of the staff people can get to the application. The application and documents will sit for 8 to 9 months before a staff person will contact a senior/disabled person to acknowledge that they are ready to take on the applicant’s case.
Mean while in all that waiting time, once the staff person is taking on the case, they will ask for more documentation because most of the information 7 or 8 months ago is not current. This has caused frustration for the senior or disabled person because they are not aware that another city department is now handling the case. Also if there is missing documents between the department of aging and community development the senior citizen or disabled person has to reproduce the missing document they supplied 7 to 8 months ago. Also seniors that are in housing court with code violations and have an active SHAP application in process have not been able to move to the front of the line to become code compliant. Also unnecessary information has been asked from the senior or disabled person that is irrelevant to the case and has caused long delays.

Link to a SHAP application:
http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/.../ShapProgram6.13.16.pdf

Michael Cosgrove the acting director can filter all the letters that are received to the 
Department of Community Development’s office for the citizen’s response to the transferring of funds. He can decide which letters are important to send to HUD. So by sending a letter to HUD this will support why citizens have concerns about the transfer of funds and about the program in general. Please send your letter to:
Department of Community Development
601 Lakeside Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Attn: Joy Anderson
Email: janderson2 [at] city [dot] cleveland [dot] oh [dot] us

And to

HUD-Department of Community and Planning
200 N. High St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215
ATTN: Director Jorgelle Lawson
Email: Jorgelle [dot] Lawson [at] hud [dot] gov

The deadline to respond is July 10th (Sunday at 4:00pm)

Some concerns for your letter on the transfer of funds and positive and negatives of the SHAP program:

• Why does it take almost a year for the SHAP applicant to get a project completed?
• Why the numbers are for senior/disabled residents receiving SHAP lower on the west side of Cleveland than on the eastside?
• Why are only CDBG funds used for the SHAP program?
• Why when most seniors do not have access to a computer or money for a newspaper the Department of Community Development will not use any other outreach resource to reach the target population?
• Why did it take two years before the Department of CD decided not to use the funds?
• Why didn’t the Department of CD preplan with HUD in Columbus on how to use the $619,000 for the SHAP program in 2014 when they first applied?
• Why didn’t the Department of CD ask for an extension for the funds in 2015, a year before the deadline?
• What are the development projects that are “ready to go” that will receive the $619,000?
• How many complaints are directed back to the Department of Aging because they have to wait so long from the Community Development Department?

If you know of a Cleveland resident who has had good or bad experience from the SHAP program please mention that in your letter. You probably can come up with different questions or concerns to respond to the transferring funds request.

The statement below is from HUD’s website about citizen’s participation. A grantee is the City of Cleveland. 
Citizen Participation
A grantee must develop and follow a detailed plan that provides for and encourages citizen participation. This integral process emphasizes participation by persons of low or moderate income, particularly residents of predominantly low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, slum or blighted areas, and areas in which the grantee proposes to use CDBG funds. The plan must provide citizens with the following: reasonable and timely access to local meetings; an opportunity to review proposed activities and program performance; provide for timely written answers to written complaints and grievances; and identify how the needs of non-English speaking residents will be met in the case of public hearings where a significant number of non-English speaking residents can be reasonably expected to participate.

If you want to send a letter to your Council person you can do so at your wish. Mr. Cosgrove will eventually ask City Council for approval to transfer the funds after he receives his OK from HUD in Columbus. HUD needs to hear from us.

( categories: )

Housing Trust Fund is slush fund for "Dream Neighborhood"

  Jennifer Spencer, who works for Detroit Shoreway CDC penned this editorial - read between the lines - and see above.  Appalling.  Sick.

 

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/07/clevelands_revitalized_histori.html

 

We have a need to take action and quickly. The plan is to take funding from the Senior Housing Assistance Program and shift it to the Housing Trust Fund! Not only have they made it difficult enough for seniors to receive the assistance they need, but they are now planning on taking away their funds!

Public Notice
Substantial Amendment to the City of Cleveland,
Department of Community Development Five Year
Consolidated Plan and 2014 Action Plan 
The City of Cleveland is required to publish a notice concerning any changes or amendments to its Action Plan of the Five Year Consolidated Plan and the HOME Investment Partnership Program. The changes to the HOME program are
considered a Substantial Amendment to the Consolidated Plan and to the HOME program year Action Plan.
The HOME program is administered by the City of Cleveland Department of Community Development. The funds will be used for the Housing Trust Fund respond to any of the proposed activities listed in this Substantial Amendment.

The City will then consider any such comments and if deemed appropriate, modify the changes when amending the Action Plan.
The Substantial Amendment to the Action Plan will then be forwarded to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for review and approval.
The Substantial Amendment is available to citizens upon request and can be accessed at

City of Cleveland
Department of Community Development
601 Lakeside Avenue, Room 320
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
It can also be accessed on-line on the City of Cleveland website at
http://cd.city.cleveland.oh.us
The City intends to amend the Action Plan and reallocate Pre-2015 Funds as Housing Trust Funds, taking from the Senior Housing Assistance Program, Please send your comments in before July 10th!