Decentralizing Urban Policy: Case Studies in Community Development

By Paul R. Dommel; John Stuart Hall et al. | Go to book overview

but fees were based on a sliding scale of income. The managers of the Hayes Center encouraged people of all income and racial categories from all over the city to use the center, and to some extent this mixed use did take place. The State Employment Service, for example, rented a suite of offices to serve the entire city. Citywide civic and educational meetings were also scheduled intermittently in the Hayes Center. Given Carbondale's still largely segregated housing patterns, however, and the income requirements attached to most of the major social services offered in the Hayes Center, the bulk of the participants were the low- and moderate- income black residents of the Northeast, followed by the low- and moderate-income white residents of the Northwest.

When compared with the model cities and urban renewal expenditures in the Northeast, the movement of the community development program into the Northwest represented some spreading of funds over a wider and generally higher income group. Overall, however, committing the bulk of the CDBG money to the Northeast and Northwest meant that a large share of the benefits would go to lower-income groups.


Conclusion

CDBG provided the opportunity for the consolidation and maturation of community development institutions in Carbondale. Program capacities and expertise were already there, but they developed considerably under the block grant. The young, enthusiastic, and often inexperienced people from the model cities days gained experience. In addition, city officials generally agree that the CDBG approach lessened their dependence on HUD guidance and approval of project details. The block grant program fit more smoothly into the city's planning, management, and budgeting systems than did the categorical grant program because it enabled the city to spend money on a broader range of local needs. In general, local officials felt that in the first two years the block grant had allowed Carbondale officials more initiative and flexibility than had the categorical grant program.

The CDBG process as a whole, including the housing assistance plan, had one additional institutional effect. The application that included multiyear program summaries increased Carbondale's ability to develop comprehensive, communitywide planning and to execute these plans. Planning was already important and reasonably advanced in Carbondale

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