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Courtney Announces Approval of Federal Funds for Crumbling Foundations Testing in Three Eastern Connecticut Towns

March 19, 2019
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Congressman Joe Courtney announced the approval of $480,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to support testing of crumbling foundations in Ellington, Stafford, and Vernon. The funding was requested by the three towns in a joint application last year as part of Connecticut’s Small Cities Program run by the state Department of Housing, which distributes the state’s portion of federal CDBG funds it receives annually. Courtney first identified these federal funds in 2016 as a possible source of crumbling foundations aid, and led efforts to ensure that state officials fully utilized the funds to support local response efforts.

“Approval of this application is a big win for our region,” Courtney said. “From day one, I have worded to identify any possible sources of federal aid to help respond to the crumbling foundations crisis in eastern Connecticut. Today’s announcement is a direct result of efforts by my office to confirm that existing federal CDBG funds that the state gets every year can be used for helping communities and homeowners grappling with the crisis and its impacts. We cannot afford to leave any option off the table as we move forward, and I will continue to work with local, state and federal officials to bring resources like these to our region.”

Congressman Courtney first identified the CDBG program as a source of federal assistance to response to the crumbling foundations crisis in 2016, after the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development confirmed in writing that the state’s allocation of CDBG funds could be used for crumbling foundations. After Courtney called for the use of CDBG funds for the crisis, former Governor Dannel Malloy announced that $1 million in CDBG funds would be set aside for crumbling foundations related projects.

However, after it was revealed in February 2018 that only $250,000 of this allocation had been provided to a single application and that the remaining $750,000 had been redistributed to other programs, Courtney publicly called on DOH to restore those funds and re-open the application process so that other communities had the opportunity to apply. Despite initial resistance to Courtney’s requests, in May 2018 DOH re-opened the program and restored $500,000 for applications from eligible communities.

In August 2018, the towns of Ellington, Stafford, and Vernon held a required public meeting about their joint application for the federal CDBG funds. Congressman Courtney testified in support of the application, urging approval of the project as a way of demonstrating the value of a local-state-federal partnership on this important issue.

Prior to today’s announcement, the CT DOH previously awarded $250,000 in CDBG funds to a multi-town application led by Coventry, including Ashford, Bolton, Columbia, Coventry, Tolland, Union, and Willington.

A municipality that establishes a crumbling foundations testing program with CDBG funding may cover 100% of the costs to test a foundation for pyrrhotite, up to $5,000.