The City of Valdosta celebrates Community Development Week this week highlighting the Community Development Block Grant program.

On Monday, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle issued a proclamation supporting the CDBG and in recognition of the program’s 40th anniversary.

The week’s theme: “CDBG: 40 Years of Building Strong Communities.” It emphasizes the important role the program plays in the community.

The CDBG program is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program, and it was enacted into law as part of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. The program provides grants to states, cities, and counties to improve the physical, economic and social conditions in communities and provide decent, safe, and sanitary housing. It aims to provide suitable living environments and economic opportunities to low- and moderate-income people.

“Although the CDBG program across the nation has been cut significantly in the last several years — from $4.4 billion down to $3.03 billion, the City of Valdosta’s program remains a valuable resource to its citizens and improves the overall condition of our city neighborhoods,” a press release states.

Since 2004, the City of Valdosta has received yearly allotments from HUD.

Valdosta’s Neighborhood Development Manager Vanassa Flucas said, “Having this week, gives people the opportunity to see exactly what we do with the entitlement allotments that we receive. The City of Valdosta has dedicated our entitlement money in the past eight years or so to help eliminate substandard housing by the year 2020.”

The community-development program also involves economic issues including safety structure, infrastructure, and financial support through federal aid programs.

“It’s a community process; we’re not only spending these dollars in the community, we also value the community’s input on how these community dollars are spent,” Flucas said. “For a lot of people, they think we arbitrarily make these decisions on what we do with the allotment we receive every year. But based on community input, and based on the data that’s gathered from the census, we seek input from our community.”

On Monday, city officials led several state legislators on a tour to see how the city utilizes its entitlement money.

Other events include two seminars today, a meeting at Pinevale Elementary School, and a public hearing.

From 9 a.m.-1 p.m. today, the city hosts a free workshop, open to the public, entitled “How Can the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Benefit Your Community?” in the multi-purpose room at the City Hall Annex.

From 2-4 p.m. today, Valdosta’s small emerging business program presents seminars on money matters for small businesses. This is a free workshop open to the public in the multi-purpose room at the City Hall Annex.

On Friday morning, city officials will teach Pinevale Elementary School fifth-graders how to utilize financial resources for community benefits.

Finally, to conclude National Community Development Week, residents are invited to a public hearing in reference to the allotment for the FY 2014 EBDG money.

More information: Contact the city’s Neighborhood Development Division, (229) 671-3617.

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