HUD provided attendees at a May 4 HOME Program conference in Washington, D.C. with a preview of its new data and mapping tools intended to improve and simplify the Consolidated Plan (ConPlan) process. The new tools are called the “Consolidated Plan Enhancements.”
HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) is preparing extensive data sets and a simple electronic mapping capacity to provide to all jurisdictions receiving CPD funds.
In addition, the ConPlan Five-Year Strategic Plan and subsequent Annual Action Plans will be submitted using an electronic template tied into CPD’s management information system, known as IDIS. The electronic template will eliminate redundancies such as preparing a separate Annual Action Plan and then inputting project-specific information into IDIS, as well as taking year-end, project-specific performance information from IDIS and then writing a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER).
The ConPlan is a jurisdiction’s affordable housing and community development needs assessment, statement of priorities, and strategy for addressing priority needs. A five-year Strategic Plan, and Annual Action Plan updates, are required for all states, cities, and counties that receive formula-based funds from CPD. Those funds include HOME, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Emergency Shelter Grants/Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA), the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and eventually the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF).
HUD hopes these tools will make “planning” a reality in the ConPlan. It was noted by a senior HUD official at the conference that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program hindered public planning because emphasis was placed on simply getting deals done. With HUD-provided data and mapping capacity, policymakers and the public will have much more data for better informed planning based on neighborhood-specific affordable housing needs assessments.
The prototype system enables jurisdictions to map the location of existing public housing units, HUD-assisted multifamily units, and LIHTC units. It will eventually display HOME, CDBG, NSP, ESG, HOPWA, and NHTF units, as well as CDBG-assisted businesses and social service providers.
Other information in the mapping prototype includes census tracts with more than 51% occupancy by households with incomes below 80% of the area median income, areas with high concentrations of Housing Choice Vouchers, and areas with concentrations of older housing stock. CPD also plans to include Continuum of Care planning data, units assisted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development programs, and data which will help jurisdictions comply with the Fair Housing Law’s obligation to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). In the future, CPD intends to refine data presentation down to the Census Block Group level as well as by Congressional district boundaries.
Because the new ConPlan system will be based on an electronic template, all of the data will be online and can be sorted by the public as well by policymakers. CPD hopes that online public accessibility of the data and of draft ConPlans and performance reports will improve public participation.
The ConPlan Enhancement tools will be tested by some jurisdictions this summer while CPD conducts webinars to further explain the new tools to stakeholders. All work is to be completed by April 2012, at which time jurisdictions will be required to use the new system.
The mapping prototype is available at http://egis.hud.gov/cpdmaps, and a set of PowerPoint slides about the ConPlan Enhancements is at http://www.hometa.info/media/conf/Consolidated.pdf.
More information about the ConPlan is on page 37 of the 2011 Advocates’ Guide, www.nlihc.org.