In order to ensure citizen participation in all of the CDBG-, HOME- and ESG-funded program areas, a number of citizen advisory committees have been created, with membership appointed by the Mayor. These advisory committees make programmatic, policy and funding recommendations to the Planning and Development Board, which then makes recommendations to the Mayor.
The plan that describes the citizen participation process for Newton's Housing and Community Development Program is the Citizen Participation Plan. It lists all of the advisory committees for the Program and explains the process used to solicit comments on the Program.
All of the citizen advisory committees listed below are subject to the conflict of interest policy.
Neighborhood advisory committees (NAC) in Newton's four CDBG "target neighborhoods" (the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of low- and moderate-income residents) work with housing and community development staff on the development of the five-year Consolidated Plan and the Annual Action Plan. Their input is critical on identifying the needs in their neighborhood and developing priorities, strategies and projects that address those needs. The committees also serve in an advisory capacity for the implementation of projects in their neighborhood.
Open meetings are held at least quarterly in the target neighborhoods. The Newton Corner Advisory Committee, the Newtonville Advisory Committee, the Nonantum Advisory Committee and the West Newton Advisory Committee are each chaired by a member elected by the committee. Members are appointed for a term concurrent with the five-year Consolidated Plan and must reside in the target neighborhood at the time of their appointment. In addition to appointed members, the Housing and Community Development Division also maintains a list of "interested citizens" for each target neighborhood, composed of individuals who have expressed an interest in the neighborhood improvement program.
To learn more about the advisory committees, please click on the links below:
The Human Service Advisory Committee is a volunteer group appointed by the Mayor. Its membership consists of ten to twelve Newton residents whose primary role is to work with program staff from the Newton Community Development Program to periodically review grant applications from Newton service providers and make funding recommendations to City officials. The CDBG human service grants and Emergency Shelter Grants awarded as a result of this process total about $500,000 per year from funds provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Committees functions include working with staff in the development of long-range human service needs assessments that occur every five years. Based on the results of the needs assessments, the Committee reviews and evaluates requests by service providers for CDBG human service funds and Emergency Shelter Grant funds. The committee then makes recommendations to the Planning and Development Board and the Mayor regarding the funding of projects that can best respond to the needs of low-income and moderate-income residents of Newton. At least once per year the members of the Committee have the opportunity to participate with staff members in site visits to grantee agencies for the purpose of project monitoring.
The Commission on Disability's mission is to foster equal access to community life and activities for people with disabilities. Through education and advocacy, the Commission works to raise awareness about the needs and rights of people with disabilities and the importance of increased accessibility to programs, housing, and facilities in municipal and commercial buildings, and other public entities. The Commission makes recommendations to the Planning and Development Board concerning proposed CDBG-funded access improvement projects and other CDBG-funded construction projects. The Newton Commission on Disability typically meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at 6:30pm on the 2nd floor of Newton City Hall in room 209.
After staff determines that a loan or grant request is eligible for CDBG funds, the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), a committee appointed by the Mayor and representing local lenders, business owners and nonprofit organizations, reviews the application based on underwriting criteria. The committee also periodically evaluates CDBG-funded economic development programs to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the community. The Mayor has allowed the EDAC the authority to make loan and grant awards; however, recommendations for policy and programmatic changes must be made to the Planning and Development Board and approved by the Mayor.
While the Newton Housing Partnership plays a critical role in the review and evaluation of CDBG- and HOME-funded projects, they are also instrumental in shaping housing policy for the city as a whole. The Partnership's mission is to foster, support and initiate land use, planning and fiscal policies and actions that ensure the development and preservation of housing to serve a socially and economically diverse community. In order to fulfill its mission, the Partnership acts in an advisory capacity to the Mayor, the Board of Aldermen and its committees, the Planning and Development Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Community Preservation Committee and the City staff. The Newton Housing Partnership, which consists of approximately 20 members, represents Newton residents, organizations, businesses and institutions which are based in Newton or which serve the housing needs of Newton residents. Generally, the Partnership meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 7:45 a.m. at Newton City Hall.
The Planning and Development Board considers the recommendations made by the citizen advisory committees, other Newton agencies and organizations and citizens related to the CDBG, HOME and ESG programs. After a public hearing to allow for open discussion, the Board forwards recommendations to the Mayor for final review and approval. Public hearings on the proposed Consolidated Plan, Annual Action Plan and Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) are conducted by the Board, as well as public hearings for proposed changes to the Consolidated Plan and/or Annual Action Plan. The Board is composed of residents of the City of Newton and is comprised of six full-members (one of whom is appointed by the state Secretary of Housing and Community Development) and up to five alternate members. Unless their schedule is disrupted by a holiday or inclement weather, the Planning and Development Board meets on the first Monday of every month at 7:30 p.m. in Room 209 of Newton City Hall.