Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee: Community Development Block Grant Hearings, Day 1, Morning Session

Cleveland City Council
Criminal Justice

Tuesday, May 28, 2024
9:00 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. EDT

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601 Lakeside Ave Cleveland, OH 44114 (Directions)

Cleveland City Hall, Mercedes Cotner Room 217 (or watch on YouTube)

It is budget season (again) in Cleveland! We’re going to document it!

On this day, Cleveland City Council will hold day 1 of the 2024 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) budget hearings.

We do not expect you to be a budget expert. Honestly, we don’t know many people who are. We want you to lead with your curiosity. Document the process as you see it. Ask questions about what you don’t understand. And of course, follow the money.

More resources and details about CDBG hearings are below. But first, some important assignment things to know:

NOTE: This assignment is for the morning session of day 1 of CDBG budget hearings. This assignment is scheduled from 9 a.m. until council takes a lunch break. Lunch break is expected at noon, but it may come earlier or later.

When lunch break begins, please contact the Cleveland Documenters team to let us know at (216) 202-4383. That way we can give a heads up to Documenters covering the afternoon session.

Pay: For budget assignments, we treat each session (AM or PM) as a four-hour meeting, even if it runs shorter.

  • Minimum pay if watching remotely: $108
  • Minimum pay if watching in-person: $144

More pay is added for sessions that run longer than 4 hrs & 15 min.

Documenters covering this should be prepared for the session to last up to four hours. If the session lasts longer than four hours and you cannot continue, let the Documenters team know and note where you leave off in your meetings notes or live-tweet thread.

Live tweeters: Because we are trying to make information from these budget hearings available for residents as quickly as possible, please only accept this assignment if you can live tweet this meeting WHILE the meeting is ongoing.

Notetakers: We know officials cover a lot in these sessions. You’ll have 48 hours to submit budget notes rather than the typical 24 (note: You’ll still receive an automated email to submit assignments within 24 hours).

Watching remotely?

The meetings are streamed on YouTube:

You can also catch livestreams on TV2O’s Facebook page:

Also TV20’s website:

Attending in person? Documenters: Be sure to bring your photo ID.

Who’s who?

Expect to see members of the council committee:

  • Anthony Hairston, chair
  • Jasmin Santana, vice chair
  • Stephanie Howse-Jones
  • Kris Harsh
  • Joe Jones
  • Kerry McCormack
  • Jenny Spencer

Other members of council may also attend.

On the mayor’s administration side, Director of Community Development Alyssa Hernandez and Assistant Director Michiel Wackers will likely attend. Other administration officials may join them.

Sections of the CDBG budget book set for this meeting (more on this below):

  • Introduction and Opening Statements (Chapter 1)
  • Budget Overiew (Chapter 2)
  • Residential Improvement (Home Repair Program – Chapter 3)
  • Housing Development (Chapter 4)

Note: Council may not get through all of these sections in your session. This committee is set to review one other piece of legislation on this day in addition to diving into the CDBG budget.

Some CDBG background

Separate from the General Fund budget hearings held in February, the annual CDBG budget hearings hone in on federal grants the city can receive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The grants are part of a federal assistance program that aims to build stronger and more resilient communities by providing additional money to local governments for community and economic development work. They often focus on improving housing and economic opportunities for low-income residents. Being federal money, the funds have specific requirements for how the city can use them. City Council uses these hearings to learn how the mayor’s administration plans to allocate the funds and potentially legislate changes.

This year, the total available to Cleveland in these federal grants is an estimated $28,285,095. The mayor’s administration projects the money would come from the following federal programs:

  • CDBG: $19,883,456
  • Federal HOME Investment Partnerships Act: $4,200,829
  • Emergency Solutions Grant: $1,826,276
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS: $2,374,534

Additional resources:

Here are some additional resources that might be useful. We’ll keep our eyes out for others; feel free to do the same!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! And remember: Lead with your curiosity and feel free to note in your coverage if something doesn’t make sense.

Check the source website for additional information


Edited and summarized by the Cleveland - OH Documenters Team

Note-taking by Tina Scott

Community Development official apologizes to residents for shortfalls

Live reporting by Ayanna Rose Banks

Cleveland has 7 years to spend CDBG money, official says

asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes
Hi, I'll be tweeting this morning's Cleveland City Council Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee: Community Development Block Grant Hearing✨for #CLEdocumenters 📷@CLEdocumenters &

05:46 PM May 28, 2024 CDT

asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 2/39
@cledocumenters @signalcleveland this meeting can be found at
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 3/39
@cledocumenters @signalcleveland Councilmen Kerry McCormack expressed looking forward to opening the riverfront for public access
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 4/39
Councilmen Danny Kelly expressed wanting to see what affordable housing will look like in CBL project
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 5/39
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 6/39
Alyssa Hernandez, director of community development, was joined by assistant dir.'s Anthony Scott and Mikiel Wackers and Jeff Kucharski, budget manager, for the CDBG presentation
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 7/39
This year they have been given the numbers for their budget upfront
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 8/39
This slide is to show what the community development department does and their partners
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 9/39
These slide are what the assistants are in charge of
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 10/39
They had a lot of positions to fill and have been doing so successfully
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 11/39
They now have online applications for Tax abatement and land bank and others are being tested.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 12/39
They put their management through a 4 day, lean sigma six training course to train their program managements on how to assess their own programs and improve them.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 13/39
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 14/39
the funding formula and process video can be found at
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 15/39
historical allocation of funds for each grant. We have 2.2 million less than last year total
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 16/39
Jenny Spenser asked what is the public service grant cap?
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 17/39
HUD limits 15% of the overall grant to go to public service. our cap is a little higher because we are grandfathered in
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 18/39
Wacker: Our cap is based on what we spent in 1983. Our number is around 25% or 4.4 million of our grant. without the grandfathering our 15% would be around 3 million.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 19/39
Dir. Hernandez: When the city gets the CDBG dollars they have 7 years to spend these dollars. We will spend the oldest of the dollars (from 2017) first and work our way forward.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 20/39
Jenny Spenser commented that she is not very happy with the decrease in funds for the HOME program and with inflation the hit is even bigger
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 21/39
The question was asked how the fund are allocated to different communities.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 22/39
There is no evenly split 17 communities except with the NDA program
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 23/39
Councilman Richard Starr asked, During budgeting time they were told the 15 million dollar arbor request that had been passed back in august will be here by April of this year, do they have updates?
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 24/39
Hernandez: We will be doing announcements in the next two months.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 25/39
Starr: Why is the home repair program taking so long? and how can we get the Slavic village area these fund?
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 26/39
Hernandez: We have been working on hiring. We have to work with 6 different programs and we are working hard to figure out the right way to spend the money
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 27/39
Starr commented that his community is struggling to get help from these programs
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 28/39
Joe Jones asked about department overall readiness
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 29/39
Philosophical change: residents don't care how their home gets repaired as long as it gets done.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 30/39
Hernandez: They are focusing on production and handling contractor will be handled by one implementation contractor.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 31/39
Anthony Scott Assistant dir. issued an apology to the residents of the city for the way things have been working historically
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 32/39
Joe Jones makes a point that we should be trying to "give a little to a lot" and only worry about the most pressing issues that are brought to the department so we can help more people in less time.
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 33/39
Hernandez replies that sometimes residents don't know when something needs to be done and if they go to help with one issue and see another big issue it's their responsibility to fix both issues for that resident
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 34/39
Jenny Spenser asked when the universal application will be launched
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 35/39
The answer was hopefully within the next month, after testing
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 36/39
Councilmen Kris Harsh asked, they have done this before with a different project, How is the implementation vendor going to pay the contractors if they will need to be reimbursed
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 37/39
Ass. Dir. Scott answered that they are already in the process of picking an implementation vendor and one of the main requirements of the applicants is having the fund and credit to pay the contractors , while they wait to be reimbursed
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 38/39
Separate from the General Fund budget hearings held in February, the annual CDBG budget hearings hone in on federal grants the city can receive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
asrosedevelopes @asrosedevelopes 39/39
Have questions? Think we got something wrong? Send any inquiries on the meeting or these tweets to
@cledocumenters Or email us at

Agency Information

Cleveland City Council

Cleveland City Council is the legislative branch of the government of the City of Cleveland in Ohio. There are 17 elected Cleveland City Council members representing the 17 wards of the City of Cleveland. Each ward has approximately 25,000 residents. Council Members are elected to serve a four-year term. Council members serve two roles in their duties: to draft and enact legislation for the city of Cleveland and act as ombudsmen for their constituents.

Find meetings streamed at: *online on TV20 at:

*The meetings are also streamed on YouTube:


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