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IF funding tool survives federal budget plan

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper is applauding Congress’s decision to keep funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the $1.1 trillion spending bill. The bill passed the House on Wednesday and made it through the Senate Thursday afternoon. The spending plan did not adopt President Trump’s original budget plan. Among other things, that plan would have slashed funding for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD Community Development Block Grants have funded several Idaho Falls projects. Casper said Idaho Falls’ allocations in the past 5 years have totaled more than $1.5 million. She said those projects served more than 4,000 people with low and moderate incomes and created or retained 200 jobs. “While the budget solution passed in the House and Senate certainly is not ideal as a whole, I commend leaders for working together to keep CDBG funding in place,” said Casper. 64 properties in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods received curb, gutter, and sidewalk replacement and improvements. Other grants provided legal aid for grandparents raising grandchildren and victims of domestic violence. Improvements for downtown slum and blight areas received support as did a youth group home, and the Idaho Falls Senior Center. Idaho Falls Grant Administrator Lisa Farris said, “Elimination of the CDBG Program would have a negative impact on the city, as it would limit our ability to provide essential services, activities, and projects that invest in our community and families that call Idaho Falls home.” A review of Idaho Falls’ community development block grant projects is available here. The omnibus budget will provide funding for block grant programs through September. Editor’s Note: The original version of this story said that Casper applauded the adoption of the $1.1 trillion budget in its entirety. This was not the case and the story has been corrected to reflect Mayor Casper’s thoughts.

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