By C. Julia Nelson

The Sandy Springs City Council held the initial public hearing for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application at its March 4 regular meeting.

A grant issued through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the CDBG has three objectives. It is designed to ensure decent affordable housing, provide services to vulnerable community constituents and create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses.

The city is preparing a 5-year plan to submit as part of the application for an annual, renewable grant of $500,000 through HUD by July 1, 2008. Vann McNeill, deputy director of Community Development outlined the grant program during the meeting.

“The CDBG is a very flexible program designed to assist local governments with community development housing and other needs… and to address slums and blight,” he said.

Representatives of local community organizations spoke in favor of the CDBG and requested consideration in the potential funding opportunity.

Donna Wickes, founder and executive director of the Sandy Springs Affordable Housing Partnership, Inc. (SSAHP) proposed the city enter into a partnership with SSAHP under the CDBG. Council also heard support from Lucy Hall-Gainer, executive director of the Mary Hall Freedom House, Inc. and Commissioner Debra Allen of the Fulton County Housing Authority.

Assistant City Manager Al Crace said HUD would announce grant awards in October.

Council did not take action on this matter but will discuss it at a later work session. In other business, council also approved an ordinance adopting and enacting a new Code of Ordinances for the city.