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Community Development (CDBG)

Administrator:    Lisa Thrift

Phone:              (334) 705-5155

Fax:                  (334) 705-5409



The Community Development Office is part of the Planning Department. The two primary focuses of this office are: improving the well-being of Opelika's low-and moderate-income persons and encouraging development that benefits the community as a whole. Not surprisingly, the sources of project funding, and the strings attached, shape what we are able to do. The City of Opelika has been an entitlement city and receiving this grant since 2000.


Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) are federal funds received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The federal goal for CDBG is "...developing viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities...for low-to moderate- income persons."  To receive CDBG funds, the City is required to submit several documents to the US Housing and Urban Development Department. Community Development staff prepares these documents.  

Our grant award for "Program Year" 2016 is $220,270.00.   


To view PY2016 Budget CLICK HERE


The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses.

Each activity undertaken with CDBG funds must meet one of the following national objectives for the program:

Over the last 6 years Opelika has provided more than a million dollars in funding to:

Public Service Activities

Public Facilities Improvements

Housing Services


Emergency Utility Assistance Program

The City of Opelika provides assistance to low-moderate income households once each calendar year to those who live inside the city limits of Opelika and meet the income qualifying guidelines set by HUD. Those wishing to seek assistance with payment of a utility bill may contact Lee-Russell Council of Governments at (334) 749-5264, for an appointment.


Emergency Home Repair Loan Program


The majority of our CDBG funding is used for housing-related programs. Good, safe housing is a precious community resource. In Opelika, much of that resource is found in Opelika's low-to moderate-income neighborhoods. This program is available city-wide with concentration on Census Tracts 414 (Carver Community) and 416 (Jeter Community).  While conscientious landlords have a significant positive impact in these neighborhoods, homeownership appears to be the key factor of well-maintained neighborhood housing. In keeping with that, Opelika uses funds for programs that help low-to moderate-income homeowner's maintain and improve their homes by addressing health and safety issues. 


Criteria include:

The City of Opelika is currently accepting applications for the Emergency Housing Repair grant program. However, there is a lengthy wait list.  Our goal is to reach as many citizens as possible with our current limited funding. Grants of up to $6,000 to address housing conditions that threaten the health or safety of residents will be made. 


To view brochure on qualifying for the Emergency Home Repair program and what repairs are eligible under this program CLICK HERE (pdf file)


Home Buyers Loan Program


Successful homeownership benefits the homeowner and the surrounding neighborhood.  Homeownership is successful for the homebuyer when all of the associated costs-mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs-are understood and manageable.  Homeownership is successful for the neighborhood when the new homeowner is committed to maintaining their home and caring about the surrounding neighborhood.  In fact, successful homeownership benefits the whole city with stronger community involvement and stabilized property values.


The City of Opelika provides down payment and closing cost assistance through its Home Buyers Loan Program.  This program is available city wide to low-moderate income-persons, preference given to buyers in the Jeter Ave Target Area.  The target area is bound by 6th St, Samford Ave, Fox Fun Parkway and Torbert Blvd.  Grants for 50% of lender required down payment (not to exceed $6,000 per participant) will be provided by the City of Opelika.  The Alabama Council of Human Relations provides education and home buyer training to potential home buyers.


First Time Homebuyer Loan Program

Homebuyer Training


Fair Housing


What is fair housing?


When looking to buy or rent a property it is important to know that you are protected under fair housing laws. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the rental, sales, mortgage lending, and home insurance markets. Fair housing laws are some of the strongest civil rights statutes on the books. Federal and State laws make it illegal to discriminate against people when renting or purchasing a unit based on any of the following:


*  Race                                         *  Disability

*  Color                                         *  Ancestry

*  Religious creed                         *  Marital status

*  National Origin                          *  Family status (families with children under 18)

*  Sex                                           *  Veteran status or member in armed forces of the U.S.

*  Age                                           *  Sexual orientation

*  Genetic information                   *  Status as a person who is a recipient of federal, state,  

                                                         or local public assistance or who is a tenant receiving

                                                         federal, state or local housing subsidies including rental



The law also covers advertising, including making discriminatory statements. Ads which express a preference for, or exclusion of, a particular group of people are illegal. In addition, there is a duty to provide reasonable accommodations to a person with a disability when it is necessary to ensure an equal housing opportunity.


If you think you have been discriminated against, you may contact the Central Alabama Fair Housing Center at (334) 263-4663.


For more information on Fair Housing CLICK HERE.


Facade Grant Program


Business owners in the Downtown Historic District may qualify for grant funds through Main Street to perform exterior repairs. Revitalization of our downtown business district promotes tourism and stimulates the economy promoting business growth.


To view a map of our Downtown and see a list of current businesses and buildings, CLICK HERE.


PUBLIC NOTICE and PUBLIC HEARING:  Notice of funding availability and application


The City of Opelika announces anticipated funding availability under the CDBG Program Year 2017 an estimated $218,000 of Federal grant funds for activities such as Commercial Revitalization, Housing Rehabilitation and Neighborhood Revitalization projects. A portion of this funding is planned for sub-recipients such as community groups and non-profits. Applications for funding are available at the Public Works Facility, 700 Fox Trail, Opelika or by contacting the Community Development office at (334) 705-5155. Applications are due at the Community Development Office by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.


The City of Opelika invites public comment on actions to be taken with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program funding. Your ideas and suggestions for projects are welcome. This meeting is an opportunity for staff, citizens, and non-profit organizations to express community needs prior to setting the PY2017 budget. The public hearing will be held on Monday, May 15, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. in the Public Works/Planning Chamber at 700 Fox Trail, Opelika. Public Comment and questions are invited either in writing or in person and will be accepted until August 11, 2017. Comments may be sent to:  Lisa Thrift, CDBG Administrator, P.O. Box 390, Opelika, AL 36801 or emailed to .


If special accommodations are needed to participate at the hearing by persons with disabilities, please contact Lisa McLeod, the City's ADA Coordinator, at 705-5131 at least 48hrs in advance.