Skip to main content

Federal Funds, Local Choices: An Evaluation of the Community Development Block Grant Program, Vol. I, 1995


Report Acceptance Date: May 1995

Posted Date: May 01, 1995

Publication Icon
For more than two decades, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program has been a key component of Federal investment in America's communities. It has provided a flexible source of funding for multifaceted community development and revitalization activities, supporting both national objectives and local discretion. The two-volume study, Federal Funds, Local Choices: An Evaluation of the Community Development Block Grant Program, offers the first comprehensive look at CDBG in more than 10 years.

Cities have used the substantial flexibility CDBG affords them to pursue a mix of geographic targeting and programmatic development strategies. CDBG funds may be spent on housing, economic development, public facilities, social services, land acquisition, and other activities. Although the national allocation of funds among activities has changed little from year to year, cities have engaged in significant program shifts in response to changing needs and priorities. Furthermore, CDBG funds have enabled cities to mobilize and leverage other resources to support CDBG programs and projects -- some of which, like housing rehabilitation, might not have been pursued otherwise.

CDBG programs have tended to be small-scale, "bricks and mortar" initiatives. Housing dollars are concentrated in rehabilitation activities, public facility dollars are invested in traditional public works (i.e., transportation, sewers), economic development support emphasizes assistance to small and/or minority-owned businesses, while public service dollars tend to be directed toward services for very low-income persons. Evidence from CDBG-funded program agencies shows that 75 percent of their public facilities and services, 62 percent of owner-occupied housing rehabilitation, and 56 percent of business assistance programs started with CDBG dollars.

ORDER (vol. I, 304 p.)


ORDER (vol. II, 368 p.)


All Publications
Search for Publications
Search for Ongoing Research