Bend federal housing funds stall as need grows

City hurt in funding formula by newer housing

BEND, Ore. - The city of Bend received word this week of the amount of Community Development Block Grant funds it will receive form the federal Housing and Urban Development Department, and it proved disappointing to the city official who oversees affordable housing efforts.

Affordable Housing Manager Jim Long said Wednesday the city is receiving $445,676 for the coming fiscal year, about $8,000 less than last year due to competition from other cities that are enrolled in the HUD program.

Bend also has a unique set of circumstances when it comes to receiving funds for the program because of the type of housing it has designated as affordable housing.

A majority of Bend's affordable housing options are new buildings, and the CDBG formula gives more money to cities that are utilizing or refurbishing older housing, Long said.

In a note to Affordable Housing Advisory Committee members and others, Long said no city entitled to such funds gets less federal funding, as a percentage of its population, then Bend.

As a result, he said, Bend "will continue to have to work harder and smarter than our counterparts throughout the state."

He also said he hopes it starts a conversation about how the funding distribution formulas are weighted heavily against cities with newer housing stock, like Bend, while disregarding housing need and income disparities,

"I see this as a long shot, but it is a start," Long wrote.

The Bend Affordable Housing Committee's new work plan will go before city councilors on July 19.

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