Housing commission to decide federal grant allocation | Local

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Wednesday’s housing commission meeting revealed the same thing: nonprofits asking for more money than the commission has to offer.

In the past two meetings, 12 organizations submitted 18 proposals and requested approximately $3.3 million in federal grants from the commission. The commission allocates funds from two separate federal grants, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) program.

However, city staff estimate that only $1 million in CDBG funds and $600,000 in HOME funds will be available for allocation. The $1.6 million available is only half of what the organizations are asking for.

Central Missouri Community Action requested the entire HOME fund, $600,000, for their project, which would leave no funding for other organizations. The Voluntary Action Center applied for nearly half of the CDBG fund.

  • Community Development Department Neighborhood Services:
    • $38,000 in CDBG funding for code enforcement in the Neighborhood Response Team area.
  • City of Columbia Public Works:
    • $224,500 in CDBG funding for a sidewalk on Oakland Gravel Road.
  • City of Columbia Homeowners Rehabilitation Program:
    • $250,000 in CDBG funding for inspections, appraisals and engineering of 10 properties.
  • City of Columbia Property Assistance Program:
    • $200,000 in HOME financing to cover closing costs and down payments for low-income new homeowners.
  • Services for independent living:
    • $95,000 in CDBG funding to provide home repairs and modifications for seniors, veterans, and people with disabilities.
  • Job Point Professional and Educational Services:
    • $130,000 in CDBG funding to provide job training for low-income people.
  • Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture:
    • $140,000 in funding from CDBG to support the construction of a new $2.5 million visitor center.
  • Voluntary Action Center:
    • $400,000 in CDBG funding for the development of an Opportunity Campus (a 24-hour homeless service center).
  • Great Circle:
    • $38,000 in funding from CDBG to replace HVAC units and repair walkways at its Bearfield campus.
  • I love Colombia:
    • $200,000 in CDBG funding for the construction of a new duplex to house homeless families.
  • Central Missouri Community Action Women’s Business Center:
    • $150,000 in CDBG funding for small business assistance for low-income minority women entrepreneurs, as well as a micro-loan for four to 15 entrepreneurs.
  • Central Missouri Community Action:
    • $600,000 in HOME funding to support the development of an affordable housing community with 17-18 units between Providence Road and North Fourth Street.
  • The Food Bank (Central Pantry):
    • $199,000 in CDBG funding to help relocate and renovate Central Pantry’s new location at the former Moser grocery store on Business Loop 70.
  • Housing Authority of Colombia:
    • $70,000 in CDBG funding to renovate the JW “Blind” Boone Center.
  • Housing Authority of Colombia:
    • $100,000 in HOME funding to renovate two buildings in the community of Bear Creek.
  • Housing Authority of Colombia:
    • $100,000 in HOME funding for Tenant Based Rental Assistance, a program created to provide rental housing and support services to individuals identified as “at risk” members of the community.
  • Housing Authority of Colombia:
    • $20,000 in HOME funding to support the construction of affordable housing at 207 Lynn St.
  • Fun City Youth Academy:
    • $242,000 in funding from CDBG for the acquisition of a property that would allow Fun City to launch an after-school program.

    After the proposals, Commissioner Mitchell Ritter said, “We still have double the number of proposals we fund to go around.

    Commissioners Rebecca Shaw and Barbara Jefferson called for more comprehensive outreach systems to ensure that all nonprofit and community members are aware of the funding the commission must allocate.

    “Nonprofits pop up all the time,” Shaw said. “I just wonder how the city makes it accessible and clear to people.”

    Community development director Tim Teddy said nonprofits are identified through an updated mailing list. The city also holds a workshop once a year to disseminate information about the funding available to it and the organizations that can offer to access the funds.

    Shaw asked how the city identifies new nonprofits and if there is an obvious way to access information about the commission on the city’s website.

    “I think it’s a matter of perspective,” Teddy said. “We don’t see it from that other perspective – as someone trying to figure out where the funding opportunities are.”

    Jefferson said, “We have time to figure out how to do things differently (as a commission), because obviously we’re not doing it well enough.”

    The commission will meet again on July 20 to give its funding recommendations to the city council.

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