Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Brick & Mortar Projects

Public facility projects, commonly known as brick and mortar projects, include improvements to eligible streets, sidewalks, parks, playgrounds and public buildings. 

City neighborhoods where brick and mortar projects can be carried out are those in which over 51% of the residents earn low or moderate incomes. U.S. Census Bureau data is used to define eligible neighborhoods. Census data is issued every ten years for the City as a whole, and for smaller geographic areas within the City called census tracts and census block groups.

Currently, through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program, the City of Portsmouth is planning a renovation/rejuvenation of Rock Street Park. Community input sessions were held in January 2019 with the design team and City Staff.  

   Playground-current   Basketball Court-current


                                                                                                                                                                                         Construction is scheduled to begin in late April 2019 and anticipated completion is late June 2019. Click here for Final Design Plan Layout

Past neighborhood bricks and mortar projects include:

  • Gosling Road Bicycle, Pedestrian and Other Improvements – This project provided significant pedestrian, bicycle and other improvements in an area primarily benefiting the Gosling Meadows neighborhood. The project completed substantial sidewalk improvements from Woodbury Avenue to Pease Boulevard, installed 8-foot wide bicycle/pedestrian path and a covered bus shelter, and made other roadway/sidewalk improvements.
  • Atlantic Heights Neighborhood Revitalization Project – CDBG funds were used in a concentrated effort to improve streetscape and parks in the densely-populated Atlantic Heights neighborhood along the river.  Water, sewer and drainage upgrades as well as new concrete sidewalks, granite curbing, street paving and the planting of new street trees were carried out as part of a long-term neighborhood revitalization strategy from 1999 to 2015.
  • Goodwin Park Improvement Project - Extensive improvements including landscaping, the installation of new lighting, benches and walkways, and the conservation of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument were completed at this park in the Cabot Street/MaDonough Street neighborhood.

Other Projects

CDBG funds can also be used for brick and mortar projects that benefit low and moderate income residents in other ways. For example:

  • Adaptive Reuse for Senior Activity Center Project – The former Paul S. Doble Army Reserve Center will be renovated by the City into a Senior Activity Center serving Portsmouth residents. The project is a multi-year effort and will include parking and outdoor facilities for seniors. In addition to CDBG dollars, funding for this adaptive reuse project comes from the Daniel Street Trust and general funds. For more information, click here. 

  • Redevelopment of Cross Roads House – The primary emergency and transitional homeless shelter in the region was awarded $100,000 toward a large scale redevelopment of the facility. Redevelopment included accessibility upgrades and general facility improvements. CDBG investments in this facility and other facilities of non-profits organizations serving special populations and residents earning low or moderate incomes is a cornerstone of the local and national CDBG program.
  • Cottage Hospital Senior Housing Project - The long vacant, City-owned, Cottage Hospital located adjacent to City Hall, was redeveloped by the Portsmouth Housing Authority into 20 units of affordable senior housing. In addition to CDBG dollars, funding for this $3 million redevelopment project includes federal HOME funds, a Federal Home Loan Bank grant and equity provided from the sale of low income housing tax credits and federal historic tax credits.

For More Information:

  • Call Elise Annunziata, Community Development Coordinator, Tel: (603) 610 7281.

Public Service Agency Programs

Each winter, this competitive grant program makes available grants for operating costs to non-profit public service agencies which assist people who earn low or moderate incomes as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Public service agencies must have a 501(c)(3) tax-exemption status.
  • At least 51% of the individuals and/or families assisted by the program funded must earn low or moderate incomes as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Eligible Expenses:

  • The cost of labor, supplies, and/or materials required for the provision of services to agency clientele are eligible expenses. Grant funds may not be used for political activities or payments to individuals or families for food, clothing, rent, or utilities.

Grants Available:

  • Grants generally ranging from $3,000 to $15,000 are available to eligible agencies.
  • Grants are provided on a reimbursement basis for expenses incurred during the fiscal year beginning July 1 and extending through June 30 of the next calendar year.

Application Process:

  • This is a competitive grant process. All applications are reviewed by the Citizens Advisory Committee, which makes funding recommendations to the Portsmouth City Manager in April-May of the current fiscal year. All funding awards are contingent on the City receiving its annual CDBG award from HUD.

For More Information:

  • Contact Elise Annunziata, Community Development Coordinator, Tel: (603) 610-7281.

CDBG Budget and Plans

Previous Years


Planning and Administration

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are allocated annually to Portsmouth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) according to a formula developed by Congress. In order to receive CDBG funds, the City must submit an Annual Action Plan and a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Budget to HUD. CDBG activities are implemented and administered by the Community Development Department throughout the July 1 - June 30 fiscal year.

The planning process for the Annual Action Plan and CDBG Budget occurs primarily from December through April, however, planning activities may take place year round. From December to April, the Community Development Department works with the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to develop the Annual Action Plan and the CDBG Budget which describe the activities to be funded in the coming fiscal year. Citizen input is specifically sought during this period. A 30-day comment period on the draft CDBG Annual Action Plan and Budget is provided. After the comment period, the City's request for CDBG funds is submitted by May 15 to U.S. Housing and Urban Development.

Regional HUD Staff in Boston monitor and oversee overall grant implementation. Within three months of the end of each fiscal year, the City is required to submit a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) to HUD that describes the progress made toward the goals identified in the Consolidated Plan.

Read the FY 2018 CAPER here

Every five years, HUD requires that the City submit a Consolidated Plan. This document identifies priority community needs and sets goals for the next five years. The CAC follows the same process as that required for the Annual Action Plan in the development and recommendation of the Consolidated Plan.

Citizen Advisory Committee

The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), first convened in 1975, is the advisory board and official citizen participation body for the Consolidated Plan and the CDBG Program. The CAC has the following responsibilities:

  1. To advise the Community Development Staff on emerging community development needs.
  2. To facilitate the involvement and participation of Portsmouth residents in the CDBG program development process.
  3. To hold public forums and hearings on the proposed Consolidated Plan, Annual Action Plan and CDBG program activities.
  4. To formulate and recommend to the City Manager a proposed Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan with CDBG program activities targeted to meet community needs.

Go to Citizens Advisory Committee page