Citizen Participation

The purpose of the City of Trenton Citizen Participation Plan, pursuant to the citizen participation requirements of 24 CFR Section 91.105 and 24 CFR Part 5, is to provide a written description of the process by which the citizens of Trenton, especially those living in low and moderate-income neighborhoods will be encouraged to participate and provide input in the development of the consolidated submission for Community Planning and Development program funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for which the City of Trenton is currently entitled.

The City of Trenton receives three entitlement grants from the Federal Government to help address the City’s housing, economic, and community development needs.

Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)

HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)

Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG)

The full Citizen Participation Plan can be downloaded here:

FIVE-YEAR CONSOLIDATED PLAN

The City of Trenton’s Five-Year Consolidated Plan is developed through a collaborative process whereby the community establishes a unified vision for Trenton’s community development actions. Citizen participation is a critical part of the Consolidated Plan, including developing and amending the plan as well as reporting on program performance. Consultations, public hearings, citizen surveys and opportunities to provide written comment are all a part of the strategy to obtain citizen input. The city will make special efforts to solicit the views of citizens who reside in the low-to-moderate income neighborhoods of Trenton, and to encourage the participation of all citizens including minorities, the non-English speaking population, and persons with disabilities.

ANNUAL ACTION PLAN  

Each year the City must submit an annual Action Plan to HUD, reporting on how that year’s funding allocation for the three HUD entitlement grants will be used to achieve the goals outlined in the five-year Consolidated Plan.

SUBSTANTIAL AMENDMENTS TO CONSOLIDATED PLAN OR ANNUAL ACTION PLAN

Recognizing that changes during the year may be necessary to the Consolidated Plan and Action Plan after approval, the Citizen Participation Plan allows for “substantial amendments” to plans. These “substantial amendments” apply only to changes in CDBG funding allocations. Changes in funding allocation for other HUD grant programs received by the City of Trenton -- HOME, and ESG are not required to secure public review and comment.

CONSOLIDATED ANNUAL PERFORMANCE AND EVALUATION REPORT (CAPER)

At the end of each program year, as required by HUD, a Comprehensive Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) must be submitted to HUD by September 30th. The CAPER gives an actual account of activities, which occurred during the previous program year, and how the City maintained and expended funds, which were outlined in the annual Action Plan for that program year.

ENCOURAGEMENT OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION

The City provides for and encourages citizens to participate in the development, revision, amendment, adoption and implementation of the Citizen Participation Plan, the Assessment of Fair Housing, the Consolidated Plan, the Annual Action Plan, and the CAPER. The City encourages participation by low- and moderate-income persons, particularly those living in areas designated as revitalization areas or in slum and blighted areas and in areas where HUD funds are proposed to be used, and by residents of predominantly low- and moderate- income neighborhoods. With respect to the public participation initiatives included in this Plan, the City will take appropriate actions to encourage the participation of all its citizens, including minorities, non-English speaking persons, and persons with disabilities, as described in the Plan.

PUBLIC NOTICE

The City of Trenton will provide advanced public notice once any of the following documents is available: the proposed Annual Action Plan or Consolidated Plan, any proposed Substantial Amendment, and the Annual Performance Report. In addition, the City will provide public notice of all public hearings related to the funds or to the planning processes covered by this Citizen Participation Plan.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

The City will provide for at least two public hearings per year to obtain residents’ views and to respond to proposals and questions, to be conducted at a minimum of two different stages of the program year. The purpose of public hearings will be to allow citizens, public agencies, and other interested parties the opportunity to provide input on Trenton’s primary housing and community development needs. Public hearings will be held in locations accessible to low- and moderate- income residents and people with disabilities. Translation for non-English speaking residents and/or those who are hearing impaired will be provided upon request. Public hearings will be advertised in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the Public Notice section.

DOCUMENT ACCESS

Copies of all planning documents, including the Citizen Participation Plan, Consolidated Plan, Action Plan, and annual performance report, will be available to the public upon request. Citizens will have the opportunity to review and comment on these documents in draft form prior to final adoption by the City Council. These documents will be made available at City Hall in the Department of Housing and Economic Development and on the City’s web page www.TrentonNJ.org/cdbg.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

The City can provide technical assistance upon request and to the extent resources are available to groups or individuals that need assistance in preparing funding proposals, provided that the level of technical assistance does not constitute a violation of federal or city rules or regulations. Technical assistance may be requested in writing by appropriate organizations, community-wide advisory groups, project area organizations, groups of low- and moderate-income persons and/or groups of residents of blighted neighborhoods.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

At least annually, the City of Trenton will solicit proposals for funding that address identified community development and/or housing needs as identified in the Five-Year Consolidated Plan. The Request for Proposals will be announced on the City’s website and advertised in the Trenton Times. Proposals for funds must be submitted on the form prescribed by the City. The schedule for submission will be provided concurrent with the announcement of the availability of the applications.

IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY

In the event of a local, state or federally declared disaster or emergency where public places may be closed to the public or in-person participation may not be feasible or large gatherings may be considered a public health risk, the City may opt to conduct public hearings and meetings virtually via conference call or live web-streaming with the ability to ask questions and provide an opportunity to comment where public comment is required to be heard. Accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and non-English speaking persons upon request. Documents for public review will be shared via the City’s website.

CITIZENS’ COMPLAINTS

Written complaints may be directed to the City with regard to any HUD program or activity. A timely, written, and substantive response to the complainant will be prepared with 15 working days of receipt of the complaint by the appropriate department. If a response cannot be prepared within the 15-day period, the complainant will be notified of the approximate date a response will be provided. Written complaints must clearly state the complainant’s name, address, and zip code. A daytime telephone number should also be included in the event further information or clarification is needed.