Each year, City Manager Jon Jennings knows demand will exceed supply when it comes to Community Development Block Grant funding.

“We received almost $2.9 million in requested funds and my recommended allocation is for roughly $1.7 million,” Jennings said about the upcoming budget.

Block grants, whose financing originates from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, help fund social service and economic development programs in the city.

Last week, city councilors set March 19 and April 18 hearing dates for the CDBG budget. Within the $1.9 million CDBG budget, which includes $364,000 for program administration and planning, Jennings has allocated $891,000 for six economic development and construction recipients.

Jon Jennings

The social services portion of the budget has $626,000 to be spent on 11 programs. The social service funding also includes $20,000 in proceeds from the Cotton Street parking lot sold by the city last year.

Social service block grants were the most sought, with requests amounting to $1.5 million. Of those annual allocations, $150,000 is automatically set aside to help fund community policing.

Of the nine applications evaluated, scored and recommended by a committee, Jennings amended five, principally in an effort to fund the Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement, or HOME Team, operated by the Milestone Foundation on India Street.

The HOME team had not been recommended for any funding by the committee. Jennings, however, said the outreach efforts were too vital to be left out of the mix.

“The HOME team and medical outreach save the city an estimated $250,000 in emergency services while providing these individuals with quality care,” Jennings said. “Not funding (it) could mean life or death for some of Portland’s most vulnerable individuals.”

Jennings also added $20,000 to assist the Florence House, a Valley Street housing first-initiative operated by Avesta Housing, and added $59,000 to fund efforts to help long-term homeless shelter occupants find stable housing.

The money to assist Florence House came from the Cotton Street parking lot sale proceeds, Jennings said.

From the portion budgeted for economic development, Jennings shifted $100,000 of the $398,000 recommended for sidewalk work on Preble Street to help fund the construction of a “North Woods Adventure Playground” at Dougherty Field on St. James Street.

Jennings also added $12,000 from CDBG contingency funds to help pay for water heater replacements at Port Resources, a nonprofit that helps people with developmental and behavioral health challenges.

A council vote on the CDBG budget is scheduled for April 18.