NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Richest U.S. Areas Receive Development Block Grants

July 8, 1999

In 1974, the Community Development Block Grant program was established in the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Its purpose was to "improve the living environment of low and moderate income families," to eliminate "slums and blight," and to alleviate "physical and economic distress" in areas that suffer from a "stagnating or declining tax base."

Researchers report that HUD has expanded that definition to the point where 85 percent of the country is eligible for those grants. In fact, HUD has been dishing out grants to eight of the nation's 10 wealthiest counties.

  • Among them: $646,000 to Fairfield County, Conn., $1.8 million to Marin County, Calif., and $1.5 million to Somerset Co., N.J.
  • Then there was $6.6 million for Westchester County, N.Y. and $2.6 million to Morris County, N.J.
  • Wealthy cities receiving funds, supposedly in "physical and economic distress," include Newport Beach, Calif., which got $495,000; Palm Springs, Calif., $625,000; Santa Barbara, Calif., $1.4 million; West Palm Beach, Fla., $1.1 million; and Boca Raton, Fla., $469,000.
  • The money is being spent on projects ranging from opera houses to concert halls, soccer centers and botanical gardens.

The program has been substantially enlarged under President Clinton, rising from $3.4 billion in 1992 to $4.75 billion this fiscal year.

Source: Donald Lambro, "HUD Aid to the Rich," Washington Times, July 8, 1999.


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