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United Way of Lancaster County


Lancaster city, county release annual draft plans for HUD housing funds

(Source: OUL file)

Lancaster city and Lancaster County are wrapping up their plans for using their annual allocations of federal “block grant” dollars for housing and homelessness services and community development.

The money comes from three U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development programs: CDBG (Community Development Block Grant), Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG).

The funding is modest compared to the scale of need and it has declined significantly since the programs were inaugurated years ago. Still, they remain a primary funding source for affordable housing initiatives, preserving low-income housing and supporting the county’s network of homeless shelters and rehousing services.

Lancaster city’s plan is overseen by its Office of Community Development; Lancaster County’s, by the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority.

HUD requires block grant recipients to publish annual “action plans” explaining how they will use their funds. Here are links to the city’s and county’s drafts:

Each plan was developed with input from a wide range of government and nonprofit stakeholders involved in housing and homelessness service, and each fits into a broader strategy that is updated every five years.

Both documents are now in the middle of a 30-day public comment period before they are finalized. Comments may be offered by July 1 at a public meeting or via mail or email:

• Lancaster city

  • Public meeting: 12 noon Thursday, June 6, in City Council chambers at City Hall, 120 N. Duke St., Lancaster.
  • Mail: 120 N. Duke St. (PO Box 1599), Lancaster, PA 17608-1599. Attn: Brynn McGowan
  • Email:

• Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority

  • Public meeting: 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 18 at the authority offices, Suite 100, 28 Penn Square, Lancaster. (Virtual attendance will be offered via Zoom; a link will be posted on the authority website.)
  • Mail: Rachel Valmonte, Planning and Compliance Manager, Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority, 28 Penn Square, Suite 200, Lancaster PA 17603
  • Email:

Plan details: Lancaster City

Lancaster city has $1.47 million to work with in CDBG funding, about 5% less than in 2023. It pools its HOME funding with the county and did not receive ESG funding in 2024.

Lancaster city’s 2024 CDBG allocations. Click to enlarge. (Source: City of Lancaster)

In recent years, it has used most of its CDBG money for its rental inspections and its lead mitigation and critical repair programs, and that’s the plan this year, too, Community Development Administrator Brynn McGowan said. Those programs are foundational to the city’s efforts to maintain its affordable housing stock, Mayor Danene Sorace said, noting that affordable housing was the No. 1 priority when the city surveyed its residents for its comprehensive plan.

CDBG money also funds two social workers, as well as project management within the Department of Neighborhood Engagement. Another portion goes toward city planning. This year, it will support planning around the County Prison in preparation for its redevelopment; and planning for the nature preserve envisioned at Sunnyside Peninsula, McGowan said.

Allocations of $20,000 apiece go to Tenfold for fair housing services and Assets for small business development. City Councilman Jaime Arroyo is Assets’ CEO; he said he will recuse himself when City Council votes Tuesday to authorize submission of the action plan.

Plan details: Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority

Lancaster County has $5.34 million in CDBG, HOME and ESG funds for 2024. It had considerably more in 2023 — $7.7 million — thanks to supplemental funding provided as part of the federal government’s pandemic relief efforts.

The largest amount, $2.7 million, will go toward various initiatives to build or renovate affordable rental and owner-occupied housing. Another $1.1 million will go toward infrastructure improvement: Water lines, sewer lines and streetscape projects.

CDBG funding totaling $482,700 will go to Tenfold for its housing programs, including its fair housing service. More than $235,000 in ESG funding — the whole allocation, apart from a small portion reserved for administration — will go toward emergency shelters and programs that help individuals transition to permanent stable housing. Just under $780,000 — a mix of CDBG, HOME and ESG funds — will go toward administration.