City to set public housing needs hearing for use of COVID relief funds

City Commissioners will be asked during their Tuesday meeting to set a public hearing for Dec. 7 for citizen comments regarding community needs that may be addressed with HOME-ARP funds.

The hearing is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is an opportunity for public input as the city outlines its priorities in the allocation submitted to HUD.

The American Rescue Plan Act appropriated $5 billion to provide housing, services and shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness and other vulnerable populations, to be allocated by formula to jurisdictions that qualified for HOME Investment Partnerships Program allocations in fiscal year 2021, according to the city staff report.

GFPS planning to use ARPA funds for facility improvements, new classrooms

The city was awarded $1,026,477 of HOME-ARP funds that are in addition to the allocation of $283,494 of HOME funding that the city received for the current fiscal year.

HUD has outlined specific guidance on who qualifies for assistance as well as eligible activities as outlined below.

City seeking feedback on ARPA fund application, potential grant process

HUD identifies qualifying populations as:

  • Homeless (as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act)
  • At risk of homelessness (as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act)
  • Fleeing, or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking
  • Part of other populations where providing supportive services or assistance would prevent a family’s homelessness or would serve those with the greatest risk of housing instability
  • Or, veterans and families that include a veteran family member that meet the criteria in one of the above.

The eligible activities for the use of HOME-ARP funding are as follows:

  • Development and support of affordable rental housing
  • Tenant based rental assistance. The city has never provided grants for this program.
  • Supportive services to qualifying individuals
  • Acquisition and development of non-congregate shelter units