Mission Statement: "In order to make Berks County a better place to live, the Community Development Office provides access to federal, state, and local funds for community and economic development and housing eforts."Established by the Berks County Board of Commissioners in 1988, the Community Development Office engages in the administration of grants from various federal, state and local programs.
Community Development Office Berks
County Services Center
633 Court Street, Floor 14
Reading, PA 19601
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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Berks County Office of Community Development
Glossary of Terms
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Affordable Housing Program:
Funds for this local Program are derived from an increase in the recording fees for deeds and mortgages. The fees generate approx. $500,000.00 per year. Currently, the funds are being used for the County's Closing Cost Assistance Program, the establishment of the Berks Community Housing Council, Habitat for Humanity, a grant to Beacon House, and other affordable housing efforts.
CAPER: Berks County's Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report
The consolidated plan that is submitted annually to HUD that serves as the planning document of the jurisdiction and an application for funding under any of the Community Planning and Development formula grant programs (CDBG, ESG, HOME) Click here to review the County's plan in the CDO handbook.
Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program:
The County was designated an entitlement community for the program in 1975. The Program provides the County with an annual grant of approx. 3.2 million dollars. The funds may be used for a variety of activities such as acquisition of real estate, public improvements and facilities, public services, claerance, housing rehabilitation, historic preservation, etc. Each activity funded must meet one of the three national objectives for the Program. Click here to review the County's CDBG plan, from the CDO handbook.
By Board policy, the majority of Program funds are provided to the 75 municipalities within the County, except for the City of Reading which receives Program funds directly from the Federal government. The County also uses Program funds each year for housing rehabilitation, County-sponsored activities, planning, and general administration of the Program.
Federal Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program:
Eligible activities for Program funds include renovation, rehabilitation or conversion of buildings for use as homeless shelters, provision of essential services to the homeless, payment of costs associated with the operation of homeless shelters, development and implementation of homeless prevention activities, and general administration. The County receives an annual grant of approximately $111,000.00. Click here to review the County's ESG plan from the CDO handbook.
(HOME) Federal Home Investment Partnerships Program:
This is a new Federal program established by the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990 which may be used for a variety of affordable housing activities. For Fiscal Year 1998, the County received an entitlement grant of $526,000.00. Eligible activities include the development of rental housing, housing rehabilitation, rental assistance, incentives for homeownership, and general administration. Click here to review the County's (HOME) plan from the CDO handbook.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A state or unit of general local government.
Low Income Families
Families whose incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by HUD with adjustments for smaller and larger families.
The Next Step Program
This program is for persons coming out of transitional housing, domestic abuse shelters, emergency shelters, community living arrangements, community rehabilitation residences and similar facilities. This program helps persons 'take the next step' to a living arrangement that is almost entirely independent. Consists of rental subsidy assistance, with expectations of 'positive steps toward self-sufficiency'. For rental assistance with housing anywhere in Berks County, for a maximum of 2 years.
PA State Housing and Community Development Program:
Funds for the Program are appropriated each year by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Funds may be used for a variety of activities similar to the Federal CDBG and HOME Programs. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis and the County has been successful in receiving grants during the past several years.
Poverty Level Families
Households with incomes below the poverty line (as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and revised annually). A jurisdiction may use, as a proxy for data on such households, data for families whose income is between 0 and 30 percent of the median income for the area, as determined by HUD, with adjustments for smaller and larger families.
Very Low Income Families
Low income families whose incomes do not exceed 50 percent of the median family income for the area, as determined by HUD with adjustments for smaller and larger families.