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Wauwatosa determines block grant recipients

Nov. 7, 2012

Preliminary allocations of the city's expected Community Development Block Grant funding include one new recipient amid 14 total grantees, most of them organizations that assist low-income populations, including seniors and people with disabilities.

The city made its 2013 grant allocations based on the amount it received in 2012 - $860,000 - from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The amount it actually has to distribute next year won't be known until sometime in the spring, and individual grants likely will be adjusted at that time.

"Everybody who was eligible did get something," said assistant city planner Jen Ferguson, who administers the granting process. All of the grant recipients serve Wauwatosa residents in some way.

The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation is the one newcomer to the list, Ferguson said. It requested, and tentatively was granted, $20,000. In spite of its name, WWBIC serves men as well as women, providing technical assistance, business education and loans to start-ups and small businesses.

HUD divides CDBG money into three categories: administration and planning; public services; and public facilities and economic development.

Administration and planning

The first category, administration and planning, can amount to no more than 20 percent of the total allocated. Two grants were made in this category: one is a grant to the program administrator, in this case the city of Wauwatosa. The city's grant to itself for next year is $75,000 to cover staff time and other internal costs associated with allocating the money.

The second grant in this category, $33,000, is to the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council, to further its mission of promoting fair housing and eliminating illegal discrimination in the sale, renting, financing or insuring of housing. A fair housing component is a HUD requirement.

The total given in the administration and planning category, $108,000, is about 12.5 percent of the total - below the 20 percent maximum.

Public services

Public service funding can amount to no more than 15 percent of the total.

The grants in this category are to:

YMCA Senior Center: $82,000 of a $104,009 request. The YMCA was contracted by the city of Wauwatosa to establish and manage activities for the senior center at Hart Park.

ARC of Milwaukee: $13,250 of a $17,750 request. ARC, at 7302 W. Center St., assists individuals with developmental disabilities, and their families.

Common Ground/Elena's House: $10,000 of a $15,000 request. This is a nonprofit that provides housing for low-income people with HIV/AIDS, and provides other services. It serves about 60 people a year.

Tosa Cares: $6,000 of a $6,000 request. Tosa Cares provides food and assistance to families in need, and undertakes service projects. It is run by volunteers.

Interfaith: $12,750 of a $20,000 request. Interfaith helps older adults live in their homes. It uses volunteers to provide day-to-day services such as transportation, home visits and minor home repairs.

Tosa Community Food Pantry: $5,000 of a $5,000 request. The food pantry is affiliated with the Hunger Task Force and serves people living in Wauwatosa-area ZIP codes. This funding will be used to purchase needed food when donations are light.

Economic development

There is no limit to grants in the Public Facilities and Economic Development category. In addition to WWBIC, grants were awarded to:

Milwaukee Hellenic Elderly Housing Corp (Greek Orthodox Manor): $109,500 of a $109,577 request. This is a 34-unit subsidized residential facility for low-income seniors and the physically disabled. The funding will be used for needed physical improvements to the building.

Vision Forward (Badger Association for the Blind): $10,000 of $20,000 requested. This organization offers personal and professional development for people who are blind or visually impaired. The funding will be used to buy and install protective shade equipment over the children's playground. Vision Forward serves an estimated 200 people in Wauwatosa ZIP codes.

Lutheran Home: $303,195 of a $303,195 request. The Lutheran Home provides residential care for elderly and frail individuals who have experienced physical or mental decline and cannot safely live on their own. The Lutheran Home requested funds to renovate two units that are part of their skilled-care program.

Economic Development: $45,305 of a $45,305 request. The city's Development Department will use this money to provide grants to qualified applicants for activities such as building renovations, construction, acquisition and equipment when jobs are created for qualified individuals.

Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee: $125,000 or a $125,000 request. This group provides free home repairs for low-income homeowners who are senior citizens and/or people with disabilities.

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