Douglas County divvies up block-grant funds; no strings attached?
County officials concerned about HUD rules
Let’s be clear, “receiving” grants from the county’s political perspective is all about helping the truly needy (arguably barely over 1.5% of the total grant); on the other hand “giving” grants from HUD’s perspective is now all about eliminating racial imbalances by manipulating local government planning. The bribe works both ways, the county government receives the money and HUD stays in the business of doing what the federal government does best; and left alone they’re both fat and happy.
This is a review of a good article published in the local Douglas County News Press on how we in Douglas County (DougCo) and our four municipalities are consuming federal dollars now vulnerable to the new HUD Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. However, before proceeding and for the record, let’s establish that the tone and the way this article begins indicates it’s aligned with the premise that the community, DougCo, needs these services without consideration of any strings attached? That common premise demonstrates the prevalence of superficial analysis and the need to spell out the HUD agenda.
For a newspaper article this provides a good outline of the new HUD rule which most homeowners, given the facts, will oppose. Until the new HUD rule I personally never would have cared much about looking into grants, to repeat a famous slogan “What difference does it make?” In general, why care about grants given so many other things the Obama administration is doing to attack and diminish the fabric of our country? Fact is that unfortunately the new rule resets the priority for accepting federal grants by re-establishing the role the federal government with unprecedented control over local government planning; using the tool and taking grants is now a clear and present danger.
By clearly identifying as “for the truly needy”, there are three countywide recipients receiving a total of $39,405 out of $889,370, i.e., for rent assistance, emergency utilities, and overnight lodging. Many, if not most of us will disagree with the $310,000 that goes to DougCo Housing Partnership to supplement down payments for first time home buyers and how could any thoughtful homeowner agree with Diane Leavesley, the executive director mentioned in this article, who say’s “I see a lot of value in what we’re doing”; duh, it’s should be clear that she has a horse in this race. Why are we subsidizing first time homebuyers when there are others who can come up with a full down payment?
To the point about “All communities that participate in the 2016 program must use the new tool”, consider that HUD estimates it will take 200 hours for each community to use the tool and complete the assessment. (Realistically, coming from HUD I recommend doubling that estimate!) It should be clear that the assessment will require a full time staff analyst and cannot be done by a part time or temporary hire, for example, at $10 per hour. And HUD’s estimate doesn’t include the time for review and approval by management. For the sake of argument, let’s use a journalists salary commensurate with that of a reporter such as Shanna, the author of this article, and for a baseline let’s use $25 / hour. I don’t know Shanna Fortier’s salary, but to be on the conservative side let’s assume $25/hour without including Colorado’s 14% employee burden (unemployment tax, etc.) nor health benefits paid by the employer. The answer is that the costs to tax payers for a single assessment for one community is $5,000, which for Douglas county plus four communities adds up to a conservative estimate of $25,000.
Based on this report, the truly needy will receive $39,405, but the true benefit is actually $14,405 after adjusting for the County’s costs for doing the assessment.
There’s much more about HUD’s hidden agenda associated with imposing the new rule on 1,200 grantees nationwide, but 2016 will be just the first year when the County in order to continue receiving grants will have to compromise information about we citizens and cough up a plan acceptable to the federal government.
As a footnote, separate from this article, the following recipients are not identified as the truly needy. The grants include but are not limited to:
Program administration, $160,000
Town of Castle Rock downtown rehabilitation, $50,000
Sedalia Water and Sanitation District improvements, $214,000
Promise Ranch Therapeutic Riding, $10,000
Audio Information Network, $3,000
The author of the original article, Shanna Fortier. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
– Smith Young