Island towns score Community Development Block Grants

On Thursday, July 20, state officials announced Community Development Block Grant awards, and several Island towns will receive considerable funding.
Edgartown was awarded $1.2 million as lead community, with the towns of Aquinnah, West Tisbury and Gosnold, Alice Boyd of Bailey Boyd Associates told The Times. Ms. Boyd has a long history of obtaining and administering grants on Martha’s Vineyard. These funds will rehabilitate 25 homes, providing 0 percent interest, deferred-payment, forgivable loans. The funds will also assist low- to moderate-income families pay for childcare.

Oak Bluffs was awarded $921,014 as lead community, with the town of Tisbury. These funds will rehabilitate approximately 21 homes and provide childcare assistance.

In the past 18 years, $22 million in Community Development Block Grants have helped fund the rehab of 320 homes belonging to income-qualified Islanders, according to Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) data. Since 2011, daycare for approximately 470 Island children has been subsidized by the grant funding.

The MVC estimates the housing-rehab work funded by Community Block Development Grant funding creates about 100 tradesmen jobs. The Resource Inc.,TRI, allocates the funds to Islanders who are too stretched by their mortgage and property taxes to make needed improvements, and who don’t qualify for a bank loan or refinancing. TRI offers qualified applicants a 15-year, no-interest, forgivable loan worth up to $35,000 for moderate restoration projects.

Massachusetts’ Community Development Block Grant Program is a federally funded, competitive grant program that provides funding to help cities and towns respond to specific housing, community, and economic development projects that support low- and moderate-income residents, and to revitalize underserved areas.

Municipalities with a population of under 50,000 that do not receive CDBG funds directly from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are eligible for CDBG funding.

The state awarded a total of 39 grants, totaling $30.5 million