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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 20-571



Substantial Amendment to the 2019—2023 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Action Plan; Changes to the Citizen Participation Plan; Public Hearing

[50 Pa.B. 2178]
[Saturday, April 25, 2020]

CARES Act Method of Distribution for

 On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) (Pub.L. No. 116-136) was signed into law to respond to the growing effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) public health crisis. The CARES Act provides special allocations to the Commonwealth under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) and Housing Opportunities for People with Aids Grant (HOPWA) programs to be used to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.

 Annually the Department of Community and Economic Development (Department) prepares the Action Plan which outlines the methods of distribution for Federal funding received by the Commonwealth through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Notice is hereby given that the 2019—2023 Consolidated Plan will now include the CARES Act funding for the previously-mentioned programs and will be known as CDBG-CV, ESG-CV and HOPWA-CV. In addition, the 2019 Action Plan will be amended to add the new programs' Methods of Distribution to the Commonwealth's resources, which according to the Pennsylvania Citizen Participation Plan for the Consolidated Plan, constitute a significant change in the distribution of funds under the plan and thus necessitate a substantial amendment to the original Consolidated Plan and Action Plan. In accordance with a waiver of regulatory authority, approved by HUD on April 7, 2020, to the normal citizen comment period, the Commonwealth will hold a 5-day citizen comment period starting on Monday, April 27, 2020, until Friday May 1, 2020.

 The proposed amendments for the 2019 Annual Action Plan are as follows:


 • Under Community Development Block Grant Program for Nonurban and Certain Other Municipalities in this Commonwealth, the CDBG-CV allocation is distributed to eligible counties, cities, boroughs and townships:
  Administration/Technical Assistance: $840,742
  Discretionary/Competitive: $2,863,010
  Entitlement: $20,987,655

 • Entitlement communities must submit applications for activities that prevent, prepare for and respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in their community.

 • If any community opts not to accept the allocation, per P.L. 906 No. 179, 1984 (Act 179), those funds will be added to the competitive distribution.

 • The Department will accept competitive (discretionary) proposals from eligible units of general local government to address activities that prevent, prepare for and respond to the impacts of COVID-19 in communities.

For both the entitlement and competitive proposals:

 • HUD has lifted the public service cap on the use of these funds and therefore the Department will allow applicants to request funding for public service activities that will prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.

 • The Department is also working to establish minimum requirements for economic development grant and loan programs administered locally to assist to retain or create jobs.


 • The Department proposes accepting simplified requests for proposals from municipalities Statewide and continue to allow nonprofit organizations to apply directly only if the proposed project addresses a regional need.

 • While ESG funds can support HUD entitlement and nonentitlement communities, the Department will propose priority in the distribution of funds to nonentitled communities over entitled communities.

 • All applicants must demonstrate their participation in and that their proposal is consistent with the strategies to address homelessness as outlined by their local Continuum of Care.

 • While the Department will accept proposals in all priority areas, with the strain on homeless shelters and the impact of loss of wages on the ability to make timely rent payments, the Department anticipates the greatest need for funding in emergency shelter and homelessness prevention activities.

Non-entitlement communities will be able to request funds in any eligible component: emergency shelter—including operations, essential services and street outreach, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, HMIS/data collection and administration.
Entitlement communities will be limited to homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing and administration.

 • For all applicants, no match is required, and administration will be limited to 6% of the total request and subsequent award. Four percent is proposed to remain with the Department to cover administrative expenses of grant oversight.

 • No program expenditure caps (such as, no maximum emergency shelter request or minimum rapid rehousing threshold) will be added and the Department will request the use of all ESG waivers identified by HUD.

HOPWA-CV—$448,022 (Includes Harrisburg and Allentown EMSA)

 • The Department of Health, Bureau of Communicable Diseases, Division of HIV Disease will allocate the HOPWA-CV funding on a formula basis to the six regional HIV Grantees. Additionally, the cities of Allentown and Harrisburg receive separate allocations directly from HUD; however, for the HOPWA-CV, they have requested the Commonwealth to serve as the grantee and administer the funds for housing support and related services for the needs of the HIV clients caused by COVID-19.

 • There will be no Tenant Based Rental Assistance, only Short-Term Rent, Mortgage and Utility Assistance; Permanent Housing Placement; and Supportive Services.

Modification to the citizen participation process for the consolidated plan and action plan

Other special project grants or emergency declaration:

 In the event that other Federal special programs are awarded to the Commonwealth or if an emergency declaration is made that affects the administration of the existing Federal programs, that are authorized under the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 5301—5322), Cranston-Gonzales National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, as amended (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 12701—12713) or McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, as amended (42 U.S.C.A §§ 11301—11435), or both, and administered by the Department, the citizen participation requirements will be followed in accordance with either the statute or regulations set forth in the program. If HUD may allow for or provides opportunities to request waivers to specific elements of the citizen participation process the Department will determine whether a waiver is necessary and seek use of the waiver authority in accordance with information provided by HUD. Once the waiver is granted by HUD to the Commonwealth, the special conditions will be passed to its grantees, if necessary, to streamline the citizen participation process in accordance with the regulations in place.

 To take advantage of the granted waiver authority, the grantee must amend their Citizen Participation Plan to meet the minimum standards included in the waiver if the required action is not already covered in their Citizen Participation Plan.

Amendment—4-2020—CARES Act Authorization:

Emergency declaration citizen participation and expedited modification process:

 The CARES Act allows for a grantee to adopt and use expedited procedures to prepare, propose, modify or amend its statement of activities to the Fiscal year (FY) 2019 and FY 2020 grant and new CARES Act funding related to the use of funding to address emerging COVID-19 response.

 As long as National or local health authorities recommend social distancing and limiting public gatherings for public health reasons, grantees do not need to hold in-person public hearings but ''shall provide citizens with notice and a reasonable opportunity to comment of no less than 5 calendar days. A grantee may create virtual public hearings to fulfill applicable hearing requirements for all grants from funds made available under this law.'' Any virtual hearing ''shall provide reasonable notification and access for citizens in accordance with the grantee's certifications, timely responses from local officials to all citizen questions and issues, and public access to all questions and responses.''

Public Review and Citizen Comment

 The substantial amendment to the 2019—2023 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Annual Action Plan is available on the Department's web site at (select the Consolidated Plan, Annual Plans, & Reports tab at the bottom of the home page). The substantial amendment is available for public comment from April 25, 2020, through May 1, 2020.

 Public Hearing for the Substantial Amendment to the 2019—2023 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Annual Action Plan
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Time: 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
By means of: Skype for business or conference call only

 Individuals can join the meeting by connecting to Skype for business. The conference ID is 637192554#.

 Individuals can join the meeting by phone at +1 (267) 332-8737. The dial-in number is 637192554#.

 The hearing will be shortened if there is no one to testify or there is minimal response.

 Individuals with a disability or limited English proficiency who wish to participate in the public hearing should contact Megan L. Snyder, Department of Community and Economic Development, at (717) 787-5327 or TDD at (717) 346-0308 to discuss how the Department can accommodate their needs.

Public Comment

 Comments on the substantial amendments to the 2019—2023 Consolidated Plan and 2019 Annual Action Plans and Citizen Participation Plan for the Consolidated Plan may be electronically submitted to the Department by means of the following mailbox Comments will also be accepted by telephone by calling (717) 787-5327. Written comments may be submitted to Megan L. Snyder, Center for Community and Housing Development, Department of Community and Economic Development, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Commonwealth Keystone Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225. All comments must be received by 4 p.m. on May 1, 2020, to be included as testimony in the Plan that will be submitted to HUD no later than May 4, 2020.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 20-571. Filed for public inspection April 24, 2020, 9:00 a.m.]

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