Olympia’s Community Development Block Grant funding dips for 2024 housing projects


Olympia’s annual Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the federal government has declined by $15,000 to $347,000 for the program year 2024, Anastasia Everett, the city’s CDBG Program manager, reported to the Community Livability and Public Safety meeting on May 22.

Everett explained the ongoing reduction in funds comes as more cities are designated as entitlement communities and stagnant or decreased overall federal appropriations.

In a previous presentation to the city council in April, Everett presented a brief history of CDBG funding.  In 1975, there were 657 allocations totaling $12 billion in appropriations. By 2020, the number of entitlement communities receiving CDBG funds had risen to 1,231. However, while the number of recipient communities increased, the program budget decreased to only $3.16 billion in 2020.

Olympia has been an entitlement community since 1982. In those years, the city received 15.4 million in CDBG funding to support community development activities.

Everett said Olympia has seen a decline in its annual CDBG funding from the federal government in recent years, the city’s CDBG Program manager.

Everett said the city’s entitlement had dropped to $347,049 this year. However, she said Olympia was able to partially offset the reduction in its annual CDBG funding by utilizing carryover funds. The city had $20,594 in unspent funds remaining from prior year projects that came in under budget.

By tapping into these leftover funds, Olympia was able to boost its total available CDBG funding for the new program year to $367,643.

The following are the proposed projects for PY 2024:

  • Rebuilding Together Thurston County, which provides critical home repairs to low-income homeowners across the region, is recommended to receive $75,000 in CDBG funding from the city of Olympia for the 2024 program year. While the organization’s work helps homeowners countywide, the city's CDBG award can only be used for repairs on homes within Olympia. Examples of the critical repairs performed include reroofing, emergency plumbing repairs, and health and safety improvements such as installing wheelchair ramps.
  • South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity's critical home repair program is also recommended for $75,000 in CDBG funding. Examples of the types of improvements Habitat for Humanity addresses through this program include constructing accessibility items like steps and wheelchair ramps, replacing windows, and repairing siding and trim. Like Rebuilding Together Thurston County, the funds provided to South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity can only be used for critical home repairs benefiting low-income homeowners located within city limits.

Enterprise for Equity is recommended to receive $51,961. As a sub-recipient of the city's CDBG funding, the nonprofit organization will use the funds to meet the national objective of benefiting low to moderate-income clients. Specifically, the fund will allow the organization to provide technical assistance and business training services to low-income entrepreneurs, including underrepresented communities and LGBTQIA2S+ and BIPOC business owners located within Olympia.

  • Homeless Response Team – the city staff is recommending funding for an additional outreach position within the team. The proposal calls for CDBG funds to support expanding the team by one position to boost the capacity of the outreach efforts, which work to engage those experiencing homelessness and connect them to services and housing resources.
  • Planning and administrative costs –The proposed award is $69,409 to support city staff to maintain a compliant CDBG program.

The city's revolving loan fund program, which provides financing support for eligible projects, is currently successful, according to Everett. She said one project funded through the revolving loan fund is currently under construction, and four additional projects are anticipated to receive contracts within the next six months to a year.

To help facilitate planning and allow for flexibility, staff recommend including contingency projects in the annual action plan.

New partners?

Olympia Mayor Dontae Payne inquired about opportunities for new organizations to participate in and receive funding from the CDBG program. He asked about expanding potential partnerships with other organizations. “I am curious about the opportunity for new entities to come along and participate in the pool.”

“We appreciate all [partner] organizations who have been working with us. It was just more I was asking it because I want to see us expand our pool of people who can be partners with us in this work,” Payne stated.

Everett said she has been putting effort into expanding the reach of the CBDG funding request for proposals. She noted advertising it on various platforms when it is released.

The program manager said they received almost three times as many applications this year, with many new organizations. However, a couple of projects were outside the allowable timeframe.

“There was also a project that scored very well, but it was for almost half of our entitlement. It was a difficult choice to make to not select one project over $150,000 of critical home repair,” Everett informed the committee.

The committee approved the recommendation for the CDBG Program Year 2024 allocations and forwarded the same to the city council for consideration.


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