Hey, buddy, can you spare $18.7 million?
Actually, the feds can. And, as announced today by Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary, they're giving that amount to Arizona's poor in the way of grants for affordable housing projects.
Nationwide, though, the Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnerships funding is down by 16.5 percent and 11.7 percent respectively. HUD spokeswoman Gene Gibson sent us some charts showing that Arizona received a total of $84.8 million in CDGB and HOME funds in 2010, but is only getting $72.2 million for 2011. That's a 15 percent decrease.
Tucson gets the lion's share, $10.2 million, of the 2011 funding, followed by Mesa with $4.6 million. (See chart below.)
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With the economy still sputtering, those on the last rung or two of the ladder could use every penny. Especially now that many of that won't be covered by Arizona's indigent health care plan.
The funds, which are used to help homeless people and families get off the street, and find permanent housing for people with HIV/AIDS, are "essential" despite the challenges of the national debt, according to Donovan's written statement.
"This year's block grant funding requires tough choices that we would not have made in better circumstances," he said.
With luck, maybe next year's choices won't be even tougher.