Most activities funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program are designed to benefit low- and moderate-income (LMI) persons. That benefit may take the form of housing, jobs, and services. Additionally, activities may qualify for CDBG assistance if the activity will benefit all the residents of a primarily residential area where at least 51 percent of the residents are low- and moderate-income persons. Such area-benefit activities include things such as parks, neighborhoods, facilities, community centers and streets.
However, some communities have no or very few areas in which 51 percent of the residents are low- and moderate-income. For these grantees, the CDBG law authorizes an exception criterion for such grantees to be able to undertake area benefit activities. Specifically, section 105(c)(2)(A)(ii) of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, as amended, states that an activity shall be considered to principally benefit low and moderate income persons when "the area served by such activity is within the highest quartile of all areas within the jurisdiction of such city or county in terms of the degree of concentration of persons of low and moderate income."
Section 105(c)(2)(A)(ii) is implemented in the CDBG regulations at 24 CFR 570.208(a)(1)(ii), which identifies the following methodology to calculate a grantee's "exception" threshold: all block groups within the grantee's jurisdiction in which people are residing are rank ordered from the highest percentage of low- and moderate-income persons to lowest. (For urban counties, the rank ordering covers the entire area of the county, rather than being done separately by participating units of government within the county.) The total number of block groups is divided by four. If the percentage of low- and moderate-income persons in the last block group in the top quartile is less than 51 percent, that percentage becomes the grantee's low- and moderate-income threshold for area benefit activities. NOTE: whenever the total number of block groups does not divide evenly by four, the block group that would be fractionally divided is included in the top quartile.
The file below reflects the CDBG "exception grantees" and the exception threshold for each based on the 2011-2015 American Community Survey (ACS). This percentage represents the minimum percentage of low- and moderate-income persons that must reside in the service area of an area benefit activity for the activity to be assisted with CDBG funds.