Columnists

Community Development Block Grant Updates

Duplication of Benefits forms and ARPA as match for CDBG

In 2020 and 2021, many communities received federal stimulus funds from the American Rescue Plan, and other federal allocations. To determine if any duplication would occur, the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs required all applicants to complete and upload the Duplication of Benefits, also known as DOB, form and with applications for CDBG planning and construction grants.

Based on current guidelines, it has been determined that ARPA funds, at both the state and local levels, can be used as match for CDBG-funded projects.

Therefore, effective immediately, OCRA will no longer require applicants to submit DOB forms unless they will be using ARPA or other federal allocations as match for the project outlined in the application. Applicants who intend to use ARPA funds or other federal allocations as match will still need to submit the DOB form via eGMS with their application.

OCRA continues to encourage communities to take time to evaluate and plan the use of their local ARPA allocation. While this determination does make it possible to use these funds to match a CDBG funded project, communities are still recommended to engage in diverse and comprehensive planning and community engagement. This is to ensure the most impactful and transformative use of those funds.

New Income Survey Information and Resources

The new Income Survey Policy draft has been uploaded to the CDBG policies page and can be accessed at in.gov/ocra/cdbg/cdbg-policies/.

Public comments will be collected via an online survey. To avoid missing comments, all comments are required to be submitted via the survey. The public comment period is open until 4 p.m. ET on June 14, 2022. At the end of the public comment period, OCRA will review any feedback, make revisions, if necessary, and then, with the approval of the executive staff, post them. Once posted, they are to be considered final and effective on the effective date noted in the draft.

From 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. ET on June 2 and June 3, the CDBG team will host workshops for Certified Grant Administrators who would like technical assistance on the development of Income Surveys and the new GMS process. Grant Administrators are eligible to receive one continuing ED credit for attending this workshop. Please note, these two in-person workshops will be available based on experience level. Please look at the descriptions below before registering to ensure the correct workshop is attended.

Beginner Income Surveys – June 2 from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. ET

This course will give a high-level review of Income Surveys. It will also give the opportunity to learn the basics of submitting Income Surveys in GMS. This course is for Grant Administrators with minimal experience completing Income Surveys and will help to answer basic questions about Income Surveys. Grant Administrators who attend this course will receive one continuing ed credit.

Advanced Income Surveys- June 3 from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. ET

This course will give an advanced overview of Income Surveys. This course will go over more in-depth concepts and Income Survey related topics. This course assumes attendees have experience with Income Surveys and would like to have more complex Income Survey questions answered. Grant Administrators who attend this course will receive one continuing ed credit.

To register for these sessions, visit https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfq039mVgcYtueQvyvURIIifWJFwt7T200iQWy1IWYGc3m1bA/viewform. The deadline for RSVPs is 4 p.m. ET on Friday, May 20. The exact room location and parking details at the Indiana Government Center will be provided after the RSVPs are collected.

Note: Attendees MUST RSVP. No individuals will be permitted to participate in the workshop unless an RSVP has been submitted.

Only certified grant administrators are permitted to attend these workshops. Those not on the certified grant administrator list will not be able to attend.

Additional Resources

OCRA will have a detailed pre-recorded overview of the new Income Survey process in eGMS available within the next few weeks.

Additionally, the eGMS Technical Guide will be updated with information on the new Income Survey process within the next few business days. This guide is located on the GMS Resources page.

Other CDBG Forms and Resources Updates

Reminder: In response to input received during the last GA update, Grant Services has revised several forms and checklists that can be found on the CDBG ‘Handbook and Forms’ and ‘Resources’ pages of OCRA’s website.

Important Notes on ER FORM 7

Grantees will now need to follow this process when dealing with USFWS:

  1. Grantees will need to pull the iPaC map to generate endangered species list. *In the past, the link has been provided, but the map wasn’t required, however it will be now.
  2. Grantees will consult USFWS Section 7 Guide to see if project activities require further review. *The guide is linked in the updated form and contains a specific section on HUD water infrastructure projects.
  3. If exempted based on the guide, DO NOT CONTACT USFWS. Instead, the CEO should sign a “no effect” determination letter to save in the ERR and upload to ER Status Report in lieu of the USFWS letter.
  4. If not exempted, grantees do normal consultation and provide USFWS letter at ER Release.