University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service student Domenick Lasorsa of Cape Cod, Mass., has published an interactive story-map; “CDBG and HOME: Essential Grants for Mid Sized Cities“, that can be used by city officials throughout the nation. Lasorsa, who will graduate in May with a Master of Public Service degree, worked with the National League of Cities (NLC) to highlight comprehensive research on the benefits of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership grants in mid-sized cities.
This story-map provides a close look at how mid-sized cities, like Little Rock, are using federal CDBG and HOME grants to benefit their residents and communities. The map also features case studies with video interviews of city leaders around the country.
This research comes at a critical time for cities. On February 12, the Trump Administration released its budget proposal for 2019, that proposes a $3 trillion in domestic cuts over ten years. Those cuts include the sweeping elimination of many federal grant programs – including CDBG and HOME—grants that cities of all sizes use to rehabilitate and build affordable rental housing, repair and improve infrastructure, promote economic development and provide essential services to low- and middle-income people.
“This project is a key tool for cities like Little Rock to show the very real ways in which we leverage these vital federal dollars to augment the impact of the work we do improving the lives of the citizens we serve,” said Mayor Mark Stodola, one of the city leaders interviewed for the project.
Lasorsa’s research graphically displays Little Rock’s use of CDBG and HOME grants and showcases how the funding is being used to effectively meet the community’s development and housing needs, such as the World Changers Housing Rehabilitation program.
“This information is important for city leaders making difficult decisions in the face of federal funding changes. Cities are using these funds to meet the needs of their citizens in a variety of capacities, and this research supports the need for flexible grant funds,” Lasorsa said.
The project is the final of Lasorsa’s three fieldwork projects as a student at the Clinton School. Lasorsa is in his final semester in the school’s Master of Public Service degree program.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Dom in the mayor’s office, as his professor, and now at the NLC,” said Stodola, current President of NLC and adjunct professor at the Clinton School.
After graduating in May, Lasorsa plans to continue working at NLC as the Associate for Veterans and Special Needs, where he supports the organizations work on the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness and technical assistance for veterans in cities.