Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee: Community Development Block Grant Hearings, Day 2, Morning Session

Cleveland City Council
Criminal Justice

Wednesday, May 29, 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 2 (the last scheduled day) 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 2 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.

Chapter 5 of the CDBG budget book is set for review in this meeting (more on this below):

  • Neighborhood Development Activity Grants
  • Community Development Corportation Activity Grants
  • Citywide and Development Assistance Grants
  • Social Service Grants
  • Community Engagement

Overflow items and final questions are also planned for this meeting.

Note: Council may not get through all of these sections in your session.

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 Jenna Thomas

$7.5 million of neighborhood development grants remain from last year

Live reporting by Marvetta Rutherford

City Council wraps up block grant discussions

Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise
#Cleveland its #HumpDay and I'm covering the @CleCityCouncil
Development, Planning and Sustainability Committee
Development Block Grants Hearings Day 2 Morning Session
Alllllllllll the fun starts at 9
I need more coffee

05:47 AM May 29, 2024 CDT

Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 2/51
What I should expect and you should too!
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 3/51
Tuned to @TV20Cleveland for the coverage thanx for the great people who work there!
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 4/51
@TV20Cleveland Roll call is done Anthony Hairston is discussing an amendment from yesterday..he handed over a long piece of paper to his contemporary Santana
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 5/51
@TV20Cleveland Community Programming and the new director on her first day and some of her staff is introduced to the @CleCityCouncil
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 6/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil Joseph Wacker said the people would be paid from cbdg funds for the most part
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 7/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil 369k will pay for the salaries
Community Engagement Specialists these people will be directly working with the people of #Cleveland
@jsantanaward14 asked about bilingual people and was told there was no one who applied that made the process
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 8/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 Santana said often that she and her staff are interpreting for the people who only speak Spanish
@jennyspencercle spoke to the need for understanding the new language used for the former words used for the team now
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 9/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle Healthy Home positions are now Community Engagement department...
Structure of the citywide area is explained
Two different groups are present
One groups working with the CDC
The second working from the city
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 10/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle Spencer asked about the new positions and the source of fundings for the people who were in the room earlier.
She further stated she feels that a TeachIn is necessary
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 11/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle Clear Intention and Uniformity is vital
Development is necessary for the workers and council is needed
Hairston agrees with her
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 12/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh has an idea of moving the personnel to the Building and housing departments to cover the need for the #PositiveChanges needed in the city
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 13/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh Spencer spoke to the differences between the job description
The department director believes that the new positions and training will enable the people hired to serve the people better
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 14/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh The department has seen 4000 places last year in the city
Hairston spoke to the possible collaborators in getting things done in interaction
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 15/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh Next up Neighborhood Development Grant's
Wacker spoke about this
Personnel has changed for this expense
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 16/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh 493k per ward is allotted minus senior transportation of 200k per ward this was questioned by Joe Jones #Ward1 who asked if the company doing a good job. Wacker said the city has looked at the service.
Jones asked for a breakdown of the Services
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 17/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh Hairston agreed and wants a complete picture of the program that spends 200k for the entire 17 wards
Jones asked about the lack of service, Hairston said he wanted to know the denial reasons as well..
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 18/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh Jones went back to the Community Engagement situation and the lack of follow and a development of helping Building and housing get results?
His wards are full of structures in disrepair for 30 years
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 19/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh The director said the intent is to cover this during the summer training spoke about by Councilwoman Spencer
Jones asked how do we really get things done?
This is a massive issue and whatever it takes needs to be done
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 20/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh Jones suggests a streamlined hybrid to get the work done
Issues and problems should get granular with over 100 inspectors
And no help for the people who live in the city
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 21/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr spoke to the 12 million dollars and the usage he wanted an explanation for the funds not used.
million dollars is unspent funds according to the people in the department
Hairston explained how the prior year shows on the budget
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 22/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr Wacker and Hairston explained the issue
Starr asked about the additional funds being used. And the fact that HUD has been on the city for not spending awarded funding
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 23/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr Starr also spoke to the NDA funded for low and moderate income.. Wacker gave an answer and Hairston added that the unused funds are not able to be used sometimes
Starr said that there should be solutions that have been in place since Stokes and the 60s
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 24/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr He asked for data that Wacker said he would get to the council
There needs to be a Better Strategy
He advocates for a different way to benefit the people
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 25/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr Starr feels that the city is not consistent in the way this is done as Administrative officers
Courage to make things right are missing he said.
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 26/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr He referred to Stokes and the promise of going after the banks etc and the refusal of funding to issues of allocations in the city
Hairston agreed
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 27/51
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 28/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 Jones thanked Hairston for the discussion
There have been some improvements but the issues exist over the years. He cited Republican rules of the federal government in limiting the benefits
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 29/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 Starr stated HUD guidelines have over 100 activities that could be used and the city is only using 3
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 30/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 Jones spoke about how slowly the payments came in the past
He asked when will it get better from the chairman. This issue has been around since the Westbrook tenure
We don't need to be the second most impoverished city.
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 31/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 30 years ago he had issues with this. Now half of his ward is impoverished. He spoke of transfer sources that could help get past the lack thereof
Hairston will not give a timeline
McCormack said by next budget
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 32/51
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 33/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 There have been several different departments in this department.
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 34/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 More discussion on the behalf of the department was held
Hairston said the total amount 1.8 million to 15 CDC in the city
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 35/51
@TV20Cleveland @CleCityCouncil @jsantanaward14 @jennyspencercle @KrisHarsh @R1chardStarr @KerryMcCormack1 Hairston asked for an explanation of differences in line items
He also asked about award memos not being used in the package
Hairston asked Wacker if the wards don't do what they promised is there any effective way to police the funds
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 36/51
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 37/51
Hairston asked the hard question about the wards who are not using the dollars and still being awarded the same amount
Jones asked for a breakdown of unspent funding
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 38/51
Citywide Grants are next
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 39/51
Sickle cell funding was discussed by Hairston and he voiced his disappointment in the lack thereof
By next year he wants to see different ways to fund
Spencer had some questions
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 40/51
Spencer has asked about Citywide Grants and was told that these organizations would be forwarded to the council
Spencer asked if there is a maximum and was told no
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 41/51
There are no applications available said Wacker and no RFP due to the restructuring of the department..
We want to be focused on the people and their needs..
Spencer said it sounds like there will be more to come
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 42/51
Jones asked about the 500k that the department has no idea where the funds are going
Metrics are looked at in the hope new organizations are included in the scoring matrix he was told
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 43/51
Jones asked Ms Anderson how to get around the issues of seniors who don't qualify and can't get steps replacement
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 44/51
The system is rigged Jones said!
How can our citizens get help when you are over the income level?
Wacker said they are working on the challenge of having 30 millions and having 300 million dollars in improvements necessary
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 45/51
These home repairs are vital
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 46/51
Jones thanked Wacker for his input. He spoke to the banks in the city who don't help
Can we tweak the process he asked? He spoke of his resident in her 80s who was 200 over the limit of help and her frustration
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 47/51
Wacker spoke about other programs
No further questions on the issues
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 48/51
Spencer asked about the budget spending for tree limbs on various areas
She was told the department would get her the figures
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 49/51
Landbank trees parts are funded separately as per the department
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 50/51
Hairston asked all requests are answered in a weeks time
Harsh offered some correction to the budget , he offered to read a long paper.. its not necessary...
Hairston made closing remarks
These amendments are approved
Denise A@cleDocumenter @CleDocuDenise 51/51
With this the Meeting was adjourned.
Have questions? Think we got something wrong? Send any inquiries on the meeting or these tweets to
Or email us at
Until the next time continue to Be Great!

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.

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