CLIENT – A large metropolitan county located in north Georgia (formerly in the top 10 fastest-growing counties in the country) with over 700,000 residents.
CHALLENGE – After the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) were signed into law in 2008 and 2009, new programs were being created by HUD and other federal agencies at an unprecedented rate. The county received supplemental funds under four existing grant programs (CDBG, JAG, CSBG, EFSP) totaling almost $2.7 million and was the recipient of nearly $20 million in funds from several entirely new programs (NSP1, NSP3, EECBG, HPRP). Additionally, the county suffered a natural disaster in 2009 caused by record-setting flooding.The county’s allocation of CPD funds from HUD totaled more than $5 million annually and includes CDBG, HOME, and ESG funds. The county administers CDBG funds to its cooperating cities, as well as for a separate entitlement also located within its borders, and is the lead entity for the jurisdiction’s Urban County Consortium, a HOME program comprised comprised of a neighboring county and two smaller cities in the area. Under a hiring freeze at the time, the county would have been unprepared to rapidly bring on the staff and find the expertise necessary to design and implement the new program models.
SOLUTION – The county contracted with WFN Consulting to provide overall program management for its Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs, as well as for numerous other grants received from state and federal agencies. By working with WFN, county leaders were not only able to develop highly successful program models, but also benefitted from WFN’s onsite staff, which was scaled up to skillfully handle the peak demand. Furthermore, due to WFN’s expertise in grant management, the county’s recovery programs were consistently among the first programs nationwide to become operational, expanding the supplemental funds consistent with the intent of the ARRA.
RESULT – WFN’s NSP1 Action Plan amendment was the first among the nation’s urban counties to be approved by HUD. The jurisdiction is currently on track to expend its HPRP funds a full year before the regulatory deadline.
After a presidential disaster declaration was issued for the jurisdiction, WFN’s CPD experts provided their superior knowledge of HUD regulations and waiver processes that led to a full waiver of the county’s HOME program matching requirements for two years. The waiver obtained by WFN on the county’s behalf resulted in over $700,000 in waived matching funds that were instead made available to meet the urgent financial needs associated with the flooding disaster. WFN’s command of HUD regulations can be relied upon in cases such as these, potentially saving millions of dollars to jurisdictions that experience similarly unexpected natural disasters.
WFN Consulting’s ongoing management of these programs provides the county with seamless implementation of a comprehensive community development strategy. Today, WFN’s superior experience with program rules and regulations continues to provide the county and its residents with valuable benefits.