Springfield, MO

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Cart before $3.8M horse?  

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The city of Springfield has been granted $3.8 million in Home-American Rescue Plan funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, but a backwards process makes one councilperson reluctant to accept it. 

Council will vote on whether to accept the federal funds at its Nov. 15 meeting, but the governing body will not be able to approve a specific plan for spending the money until early 2022 because of the way the grant is structured, according to Bob Jones, grants administrator with the city’s Planning and Development department. 

That didn’t sit right with Councilperson Angela Romine at Monday’s regular meeting. 

“I’m more apt to be happy to vote yes on initiating a grant when we see a plan, so that way we know what success looks like,” she said.  

Romine said without knowing a plan in advance, it is impossible to know if the city can meet the goals of the grant program. 

“I’m concerned about saying yes and not having a solid plan and the money just gets spent willy-nilly,” she said. 

Jones agreed the process is very unusual. 

“HUD came out this time and said, ‘Here’s your grant,’” he said, noting that grant recipients were instructed to use some administrative funds now to do the consultation process. “They know it’s a burden, the way they have developed this.” 

According to the explanation of the council bill prepared by city staff, while the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, HUD did not issue regulations and guidance on its new Home-ARP grant program until Sept. 13, and the city received the notification of its allocation of $3.8 million on Sept. 22. 

The quickened planning calendar, which include a round of consultations with nonprofit agencies to be completed by Christmas, would result in council being asked to approve a firmed-up plan for the use of the funds in early 2022. Approval by HUD would follow, and then, if both the city and HUD OK the plan, funding would be put into action. 

The funding is for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2022. 

The grant is meant to assist specific populations: those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless; those who are attempting to flee domestic or dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking; and families who need housing assistance to prevent homelessness or instability. 

Grant use is limited to six types of activities: grant administration and planning, rental housing development, tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services for qualifying populations, non-congregate shelter acquisition and development, and nonprofit agency operating expenses or capacity building assistance related to Home-ARP activities. 

Jones said discussions with local agencies are a crucial part of the process. 

“The biggest part will be the consultation with the nonprofit agencies that are dealing with the homeless so that they can focus in,” he said. 

City Manager Jason Gage reminded council the city was invited to apply for $2 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding to expand services to homeless people. Council approved the application at its Aug. 9 meeting. 

“That’s up to $5.8 million that we talked about between the two before that could be applied to homeless needs in our community,” Gage said. 

Councilperson Matthew Simpson noted that combining the two grants and coordinating the spending between them would allow the city to maximize the impact of the funding. 

Jones said, “That’s something that is a real possibility in this.” 


2 comments on this story |
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If this doesn't prove to people how insane this current economic environment is, nothing will. Handing out money without actually knowing why you are handing it out. We are now in Bizarro world.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Why not? The illegitimate Biden regime doesn’t care? They will just keep printing money until we have no more paper due to their climate change hoax policies! $30 trillion in debt or $50 trillion? Who cares when the goal is to destroy America and The Constitution to begin with! Speaking of force vaccinations and destroying America. Have they started force vaccinating the killers, rapists and drug dealers in prison? We know they aren’t force vaccinating the ones they are intentionally flooding the country with?! How about welfare recipients? “No more free money and food until you are vaccinated “. Nope. Only law biding legal AMERICAN citizens are being forced out of their careers. I cannot believe these evil @&!?$&@ thought they would get away with this? At some point the real American people will reach their limit. All turns on honest elections and the rule of law. Not the perversion of law that currently exists within the DOJ. Communism, medical tyranny is evil and will not be tolerated in America. I have faith that there were enough younger generations who were properly educated and understand the greatness of America, our Constitution and all those who sacrificed everything so that we could live easier than at any time throughout history! You don’t coexist with Communists!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021
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