SPRINGFIELD — Nearly $6.4 million in federal dollars is coming to Springfield, part of more than $155 million in funding statewide from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The money is earmarked for a broad spectrum of programs and activities designed to address the commonwealth’s most pressing housing needs.

The May 9 announcement of the statewide allocations for 37 municipalities was made by members of a Massachusetts Congressional delegation including Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Malden) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Cambridge), U.S. Reps. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) and James McGovern (D-Worcester).

The allocation for the state comes from $5.5 billion announced by HUD, covering more the 2,400 grants directed towards 1,200 communities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

“As we confront a housing crisis in Massachusetts, those confronting the toughest problems must be at the heart of the solutions,” Markey said. “This funding will supercharge community-driven initiatives to shelter those without access to housing, prevent homelessness, and drive investments in affordable and quality housing.”

Springfield and communities across Massachusetts will offer proposals for HUD programs including the Community Development Block Grant, the Recovery Housing Program the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS and the Housing Trust Fund.

According to a statement released by Markey’s office, the funding is designated to, “provide flexible resources to build homes, support renters and homeowners, provide emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness, create jobs and improve public facilities, community resilience and local economies.”

The city of Springfield received the third-largest allocation in the state, coming in behind Worcester with nearly $7 million and Boston, which will collect almost $27.5 million. The city of Holyoke received just over $2 million while Chicopee was awarded $1.17 million.

Tim Sheehan, chief development officer, said Springfield, as a federal entitlement community, receives an annual allotment of federal funds to carry out community development activities under several HUD programs.

“We automatically get an allocation of the funding based upon a formula for each one of the programs.” He said. “We ultimately do a five-year consolidated plan that basically goes out and looks at all of the city’s housing and community development needs.”

Sheehan said HUD reviews annually how the city is meeting the objects of that plan while the city submits a yearly plan indicated how funds will be spent. Both reports, Sheehan said are compiled utilizing significant public input.

Regulatory control plays a major part in the programs overseen by HUD, Sheehan said, and they need to meet eligibility requirements.

“Each of those programs that are referenced have got their own set of guidelines and regulations,” he said.

The city makes notifications of funding availability to the community in order to solicit input on how and where the money should be spent. Those suggestions are reviewed and funding awarded accordingly. Programs, such as housing, do have to meet and fall within guidelines set by forth by HUD with an eye toward several years down the road.

“You have to develop the plan out five years,” Sheehan said. And that five-year plan is your roadmap with HUD.”
Warren said the allocation will make a difference for housing in the state.

“America is in the middle of a housing crisis, but thanks to this $150 million in federal funding for Massachusetts from the Biden administration, the commonwealth will be able to increase its housing supply, help people keep a roof over their heads and make housing more affordable.

Sheehan said while the city is grateful for the annual entitlements received, it’s important for the community to understand that the level of need exceeds what Springfield gets from the federal government.

“You have to prioritize how that funding is deployed,” he said. “There are a lot of very, very worthy programs that unfortunately we’re not able to fully fund because there’s just not enough funding available.”

He stressed that the voices in the community play a key role in the development of the five-year consolidation plans and he said the people who become involved in the process help determine how the money will be spent.

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