A Springfield city council committee has finalized plans to allocate the remainder of their available federal ARPA funds — divvying up $7 million to address homelessness in the community.
The federal pandemic recovery law allocated $40 million to Springfield, which the city mostly allocated this past summer. They set aside funds meant to address homelessness to receive more community proposals to address the issue.
At its Oct. 11 meeting, City Council’s ARPA Review Committee voted to recommend the allocation of approximately $7 million in funds to support homeless services and affordable housing projects. A Council Bill is being drafted for City Council to consider at its Oct. 17 meeting.
The proposal to Council will include recommending $3 million for Community Partnership of the Ozarks to build a purpose-driven day center; approximately $2.8 million to supplement a previously approved federal HOME Investment Partnership American Rescue Plan project; $2.2 million allocation for the creation of a non-congregate shelter; $650,000 for respite care services for the homeless; and approximately $550,000 toward affordable home ownership.
The $2.8 million supplement adds to 3,805,703 in HOME-ARP funding previously approved by City Council. The HOME-ARP program was created in 2021 to address the need for homeless assistance and supportive services. The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is available to state and participating local jurisdictions.
“This will help address the top priority needs identified in the consultant report provided to City Council,” said ARPA Committee Chair and city councilperson Matt Simpson in a statement.
Community Partnership of the Ozarks submitted the proposal for the purpose-drive day center. The Connecting Grounds submitted the proposal for the respite care services.
In a statement to the News-Leader, Connecting Grounds pastor Christie Love said she is “grateful” for the priority the city has placed on “addressing gaps in our service system to try to better equip our community to support our neighbors in need.
“We believe that the combination of projects selected will have a positive impact on our community and gets us to take a step in the right direction to addressing the growing crisis of poverty and homelessness in Springfield,” Love said. “Our team is ready to begin work immediately on all six of our projects this allocation will allow us to undertake so that these expanded services can be available as quickly as possible to those in need as we come into cold weather season.”
The Committee also agreed to recommend allocating $150,000 for CASA’s plans for a clubhouse and play space for foster children and $100,000 for capital improvements at Lincoln Cemetery, a historic African-American cemetery for which Councilwoman Monica Horton had advocated funding.
Approximately $2.75 million City ARPA dollars remain as a set-aside for potential COVID-19 critical services until/unless these funds are reallocated by City Council. The committee will meet at a later date.
Andrew Sullender is the local government reporter for the Springfield News-Leader. Follow him on Twitter @andrewsullender. Email tips and story ideas to email@example.com.