O.E.C.D. - PROGRAMS

LINDA AEBLI
Executive Director

OFFICE HOURS: M – F, 8:00 to 4:30
PHONE: (570) 348-4216
FAX: (570) 348-4123

A) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
CDBG, one of HUD’s oldest programs, awards grants to entitlement communities to allow them to carry out a wide range of community development activities directed toward revitalizing neighborhoods, economic development, and providing improved community facilities and services.

Scranton develops its own programs and funding priorities in accordance with its Consolidated Plan. Activities that benefit
low and moderate-income persons are afforded maximum feasible priority. The City may also carry out activities that aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight and may fund activities that meet other community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available to meet such needs. CDBG funds may not be used for activities which do not meet these broad national objectives.

OECD screens applications for assistance under the CDBG program each year during the annual funding period, which takes place in the summer. Activities selected for funding through this process become part of the succeeding program year, which runs concurrent with the calendar year. The City regularly makes grants and loans to external entities that carry out eligible activities as subgrantees; it also allocates funds to programs that OECD administers, such as:

i) Business & Industry Loan/Grant Program
OECD administers the Loan/Grant Program, which provides loans to businesses who are located in Scranton or wish to relocate to Scranton.  These loans/Grants may be used to acquire real estate, to renovate business premises, to purchase machinery and equipment, inventory and working capital.  This program does not provide venture capital, nor can it be used to satisfy equity needs. Borrowers must create one job for every $35,000 borrowed and at least 51% of the jobs must be held by low and moderate-income persons ( job creation is calculated on a full-time equivalency basis). Click here for full program guide

Visit HUD’s CDBG page for further information.

B) HOME Investment Partnerships

HOME is the largest Federal block grant designed exclusively to create affordable housing for low-income households. It provides formula grants, on an annual basis, to fund a wide range of activities that build, buy, and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for rent
or homeownership or provide direct rental assistance to low-income people. Many of these activities are provided through the City’s partnership with local nonprofit groups.

The City develops its own programs and funding priorities in accordance with its Consolidated Plan and usually allocates the majority of its HOME funds to:

i) The First-time Homebuyer Program
This program provides funds in the form of a forgivable, deferred-payment loan to income-eligible, first-time homebuyers who wish to purchase a home in Scranton. These funds assist the homebuyer with his/her down payment and closing costs. Generally, the beneficiary will not have to pay any portion of this loan back to the City if he/she maintains the home as his/her primary residence
for at least five years.

ii) The Homeowner Rehabilitation Program (Rehab)
The Rehab Program, which is administered by Neighborhood Housing of Scranton, provides funds in the form of a forgivable, deferred-payment loan to income-eligible persons who own a home in the City of Scranton that is in need of rehabilitation. Generally, the beneficiary will not have to pay any portion of this loan back to the City if he/she continues to maintain the home
as his/her primary residence for at least fifteen years.

The City also sets aside at least 15% of its annual grant from HUD to support a local Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO). OECD chooses a particular CHDO project to support through a competitive proposal process that
takes place periodically, when funds are available.

Visit HUD’s HOME page for further information.

C) Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG)
HUD’s ESG program provides homeless persons with basic shelter and essential supportive services. The City receives ESG grants and makes these funds available to eligible recipients, which can be either local government agencies or private nonprofit organizations, who carry out homeless assistance projects.

Scranton develops its own programs and funding priorities in accordance with its Consolidated Plan. OECD screens
applications for assistance under the ESG program each year during the annual funding period, which takes place in
the summer. Activities selected for funding through this process become part of the succeeding program year, which
runs concurrent with the calendar year.

Visit DOH’s lead page for further information.

D) Other

i) Federal Programs

(1) Section 108 Loan Program
The City of Scranton can provide funds for public investment in major physical development projects and large economic revitalization activities through the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program. Such public investment is often needed to inspire private economic activity, providing the initial resources or simply the confidence that private firms and individuals may need to invest in distressed areas.

Visit HUD’s Section 108 page for further information.

(2) Economic Development Initiative (EDI)
EDI provides grants to local governments to enhance both the security of loans guaranteed through the Section 108 Loan Program and the feasibility of the economic development and revitalization projects they finance. Communities across the county compete for these valuable and scarce funds; therefore, OECD can only pursue EDI assistance for its largest economic development projects.

Visit HUD’s EDI page for further information.

(3) Economic Development Administration (EDA) Loans
OECD established a revolving loan fund with a grant received from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration. When funds are available, OECD can make business loans to assist with economic development projects.
These funds must be used to leverage private investment of at least two dollars for every dollar of EDA investment.

ii) State Programs

(1) Enterprise Zone Loans
OECD established a revolving loan fund with a grant received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of
Community and Economic Development. When funds are available, OECD can make business loans to assist with economic development projects.

The loans must be collateralized with a reasonable security position. A phase one environmental assessment must be completed for projects that involve the acquisition or improvement of real property. The benefiting business must be located within the zone; must create or retain jobs; must have market areas that are statewide or larger; and must provide full-time employment at a level substantially above minimum wage, with some fringe benefits.

Enterprise Zone loans can be used for up to 30% of the total project investment to acquire machinery and equipment. They are available for new business construction or building improvements, site improvements, infrastructure, and in some special cases, for up to 40% of inventory or working capital needs. These loans also can be used toward the cost of preparing business lease space, especially for facilities with fiber optic wiring. Costs of public infrastructure development and hazardous waste testing may also be considered, if the lack of conventional funding sources for such costs is documented. The assisted business must create at least one full-time job for each $30,000 borrowed.

(2) Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program
OECD can apply for grants under the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), which is administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Office of the Budget. Eligible projects are typically economic development projects that have
a regional or multi-jurisdictional impact and generate substantial increases in employment, tax revenues, or other measures
of economic activity. Included are projects with cultural, historic, or civic significance.

The Rendell administration has stated that its priority, related to this program, is to “focus limited available capital on those
projects that display significant potential for improving economic growth and the creation of jobs.”