Date Published: March 2019
The urban counties must meet all requirements at 24 CFR 570.309. The requirements state that "CDBG funds may assist an activity outside the jurisdiction of the grantee only if the grantee determines that such an activity is necessary to further the purposes of the Act and the recipient's community development objectives, and that reasonable benefits from the activity will accrue to residents within the jurisdiction of the grantee. The grantee shall document the basis for such determination prior to providing CDBG funds for the activity."
For example, if an urban county provides a social service such as a food pantry on a countywide basis, it will not want to refuse providing the service to low/moderate income persons in areas not participating in the urban county. The persons that live in non-participating areas of the county may be considered part of the 49 percent that are not low/moderate income.
An urban county may also choose to locate a CDBG-assisted public service in an entitlement city within its boundaries that will serve persons countywide. This is because the city is located centrally in the county, providing easy access to people all over the county. This is fine if the county can demonstrate at least 51 percent of the beneficiaries are low/moderate income and live in areas considered part of the urban county for CDBG program purposes.
Although the entitlement community is located within the urban county's physical boundaries, it is considered outside of the jurisdiction of the urban county for CDBG program purposes. Here is an example from a Midwestern county. This county wanted to construct a public facility in its largest city to primarily benefit the city's residents. The county was advised the city was outside its CDBG jurisdiction (although physically located in the county) and the facility would not primarily benefit its residents, so it could not use CDBG funds to construct the facility.
Some urban counties have one or more entitlement cities located within their boundaries, as well as non-entitled cities. These cities are in the geopolitical boundaries of the county and are considered part of the county because of their physical location within the county. The population of all the entitled and non-entitled cities are included as part of the county's total population.
However, to be part of an urban county, a city cannot be an entitlement (unless it has a joint agreement with the county), and an urban county is comprised of all its unincorporated areas and small cities choosing to participate in the urban county's CDBG program. Any small city (or entitlement city) that chooses not to participate in the urban county's CDBG program is not considered part of the urban county for CDBG program purposes. Its population and demographics are not included in the urban county's population. Although an entitlement city may be the location of the county seat (e.g., Chicago, Cook County), the city's population is not included in the urban county's population.