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NOTICES

DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Summary Notice of the Availability of the Draft 2017 Annual Action Plan; Public Hearing

[47 Pa.B. 3991]
[Saturday, July 22, 2017]

 The Department of Community and Economic Development (Department) announces the availability of the Commonwealth's draft Federal fiscal year 2017 Annual Action Plan (Plan). The Plan is submitted to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as the annual application for Federal funds administered by the Commonwealth. The HUD funding programs covered by the Plan and administered by the Department are the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the HOME Investment Partnership (HOME), the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) programs, Community Development Block Grant—Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) and Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Also covered by the Plan is the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program which the Department of Health administers and the National Housing Trust Fund which is administered by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

 This summary is designed to provide an opportunity for citizens, local governmental officials and interested organizations of this Commonwealth to comment about the Plan prior to its submission to HUD. Written comments may be submitted to the Department by e-mail to RA-DCEDcdbg&homequestions@pa.gov or mailed to Megan L. Snyder, Center for Compliance, Monitoring and Training, Department of Community and Economic Development, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225. All written comments must be received by 4 p.m. on August 7, 2017, to be included as testimony in the Plan.

Purpose

 The Plan takes the strategy developed in the Consolidated Plan and applies it to the administration of the CDBG, HOME, ESG, CDBG-DR, NSP, HOPWA and National Housing Trust Fund programs for 2017. HUD must approve the Plan for the Commonwealth to receive funding under the identified HUD programs.

Content

 The 2017 Plan will include the methods of distribution for all Federal programs as well as the goals and outcomes expected during the 2017 calendar year. The approved plan may be viewed on the Department's web site at http://dced.pa.gov as well as on HUD's web site at https://www.hudexchange.info/consolidated-plan/con-plans-aaps-capers/.

Major changes in the method of distribution for 2017 by program

CDBG

Entitlement—Besides meeting one of the three National objectives, applicants must also support that the proposed activities do not benefit moderate income families to the exclusion of low income families.

Competitive

 a. The Department also reserves the right to fund projects scoring less than 50 if the demand for the funds is not greater than the set aside. These projects must be eligible and meet the National objective.

 b. The Department may approve a grant greater than $750,000 if the project benefits more than one municipality and will significantly improve the health and safety of the residents of the area. The Department also reserves the right to fund a project for less than the requested amount if the sources and uses of funds are duplicative.

 c. Request for administrative funds should take into consideration the type of activity and whether other entitlement funds are being used for the activity. The Department recommends that no more than 10% be allocated to administrative costs for competitive requests. The Department reserves the right to reduce the amount of administrative costs if the project is also using entitlement funding for the same project.

CDBG-DR—The Department may also contract with other State or local agencies who have the capacity to undertake these eligible activities.

HOME—All of the changes proposed in the 2016 Substantial Amendment II will be continued into the 2017 program.

ESG

 a. The Department will support the Federal strategy outlined by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness and prioritize applicants who request funding to address the specific homeless populations in Opening Doors: A Federal Plan to End Homelessness.

 b. The Department will continue to permit applicants to design diverse projects to meet their local needs. However, the Department requires each applicant to coordinate their efforts with the local Continuum of Care, address the Department's primary priority activity and demonstrate capacity to meet all program requirements.

 c. The Department will also prioritize the Housing First model to ending homelessness with ESG funds.

 d. The following funding priorities have been established for the 2017 ESG allocation:

 1) Primary priority—Rapid rehousing

 2) Secondary priorities—Street outreach, homelessness prevention, emergency shelter: essential services

 3) Nonpriority—Emergency shelter: operations (applicants applying for operation funds may only request ESG funds equal to 25% of the total shelter operations budget)

 4) Priority populations—Veterans, chronically homeless, families with children or youth

 e. The Department will provide maximum support available to applicants who address these specific areas. However, no less than 40% of the State's grant will be allocated to rapid rehousing, excluding administration and data collection activities for the Pennsylvania Homeless Management Information System.

 f. The Department reserves the right to modify any of the priorities as deemed necessary. Decisions to modify priorities are based on data assessments.

 g. The Department will target funding the following activities:

 1. Street outreach

 In an effort to reduce Statewide homelessness, in the 2017 application the Department is targeting street outreach projects in the Pennsylvania Balance of State CoC counties having participated in the 2017 Point in Time count and identified homeless individuals and families that are not housed or sheltered.

 2. Housing locator services

 Housing locator services focus on services or activities necessary to assist program participants in locating, obtaining and retaining suitable permanent housing and increasing housing stability and self-sufficiency.

 h. Direct HUD ESG entitlement entities are eligible to compete for ESG funding but will not be given priority over the nonentitlement applicants. The Department will only fund rapid rehousing activities for the direct ESG entitlement entities leaving more funding flexibility for the nonentitlements.

 i. Fifty percent of the ESG grant awarded to the grantee must be expended within the first 9 months of the grant even with the shorten contract period.

Public Review

 The 2017 Plan is available on the Internet or in hard copy for public comment from July 23, 2017, through August 7, 2017. The normal 30-day comment period has been shortened by HUD due to the lateness of the approval of the 2017 Federal budget and deadline to award Federal funding. Compact disk copies of the Plan can be obtained by calling (717) 720-7404.

Written Comments

 Written comments may be submitted to the Department by e-mail to RA-DCEDcdbg&homequestions@pa.gov or by mail to Megan L. Snyder, Center for Compliance, Monitoring and Training, Department of Community and Economic Development, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225. Written comments must be received by 4 p.m. on August 7, 2017, to be included as testimony in the Plan.

Public Hearing

 The public hearing for the 2017 Plan will be conducted electronically in conjunction with the public hearing for the 2015 and 2016 Substantial Amendments by means of the Internet on Thursday, July 27, 2017. Access to the discussion by means of the Internet will occur between 10 a.m. and 11 am. This more widely available computer access/conference call will replace the onsite public hearing. The format will be more accessible than an in person meeting because those who wish to make comment or discuss policy may participate directly from an electronic device, telephone or from a computer located at a public library.

 Any individual or organization may give testimony or comments by means of the Internet. Comments will be accepted on the content of the Commonwealth's draft Plan including the various changes to the method of distribution previously outlined and the process by which the public input is gathered. The Commonwealth encourages public participation in this process.

 Anyone who wishes to participate must register in advance. Contact Megan L. Snyder at (717) 720-7404 to receive registration instructions for the Internet meeting at least 24 hours prior to the hearing date. During the hearing, if support is required, call (717) 787-5327. The hearing will be shortened if there is no one to testify or there is minimal response.

 Persons with a disability or limited English proficiency who wish to participate in the public hearing should contact Megan L. Snyder, Department of Community and Economic Development, Commonwealth Keystone Building, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225, (717) 720-7404 or TDD at (717) 346-0308 to discuss how the Department can accommodate their needs.

DENNIS M. DAVIN, 
Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 17-1209. Filed for public inspection July 21, 2017, 9:00 a.m.]



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