How Does the Program Operate?
Every 5 years, beginning in 2007, the county develops a document called the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) Consolidated Plan. The plan outlines the needs of the low- and moderate-income population of the county's communities and establishes priorities for the allocation of grant funds.
Each year a grant competition is held to determine the projects to be selected and funds to be awarded. Communities and the county, for local projects and region-wide projects respectively, submit applications reviewed and recommended by an Application Review Team. Ultimately the Cumberland County Commissioners determine the final projects to be selected and funded.
The Municipal Oversight Committee
The program is a partnership between Cumberland County and our communities. This partnership is manifested by a governance structure centered on the Municipal Oversight Committee (MOC). The MOC is a representative body with one member from each participating city or town. The MOC sets policy direction for the program and recommends projects for funding. For more information including meeting agendas, minutes, and schedules, visit the Municipal Oversight Committee page.
Our Two "Set-Aside" Communities
Two communities within the Cumberland County Community Development program receive special "set-aside" allocations of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds: The City of South Portland and the Town of Bridgton.
From 2003 to 2006, South Portland received a direct CDBG grant from HUD and continues to operate its community development programs through its own Community Development Office. South Portland selects its own programs and projects, maintaining complete autonomy from the county program with its own allocation of CDBG funds. The Town of Bridgton also has a set-aside allocation within the county program.
Competing for Grant Funds
Funds are distributed through an annual competition and selection process. Applications are distributed in November, pre-applications are due in mid-December, and final applications are due in early February. More information and exact dates are listed on the Applicant Information page.
Each municipality may submit a maximum of 2 General Program Applications and 1 Planning Program Application. Cumberland County may submit a maximum of 5 General Program Applications and 2 Planning Program Applications.
What if You Are a Nonprofit Social Service Agency?
The Cumberland County CDBG program does not accept applications from nonprofit social service agencies. Applications for program funds may only be made by participating cities, towns, or the county. This is a different policy than the City of Portland, which many agencies may be familiar with.
Social service agencies may still receive funds for programs by:
- Applying directly to the City of South Portland for activities within South Portland
- Applying through a community where they deliver services to low- and moderate-income residents
- Applying through the county for a region-wide activity
Opportunities are limited by the program's modest financial resources, HUD's restriction that a maximum of 15% of the total county grant allocation may be used for social service activities, and the policies established by the MOC designed to maximize the utilization of very limited funds.