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City needs applicants for $50,000 in COVID-19 relief funding

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — City staff are encouraging any nonprofit, for-profit and governmental agency who is providing public services to Salisbury residents during the pandemic to apply for a share of a $50,000 in federal funds.

In April, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced an allocation of $168,950 in CARES Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to Salisbury. On June 2, council members adopted an amendment to the city’s 2019-20 action plan, which committed 100% of those funds to public service agencies that assist low-income individuals and families impacted by COVID-19.

After a call for applications, city council members endorsed a handful of local public service agencies to receive the funding. Then in September, the city became eligible for a second allocation of $200,221 for the CDBG program, which is provided via the federal CARES Act. The funding is to be used for preventing, preparing for and responding to the pandemic. Such uses include public service agencies, housing activities, planning, economic development and infrastructure.

City council members last month formally approved the 2020-21 fiscal year action plan that outlines a budget for the additional funds. Based on a public hearing held on Dec. 1 and public comments received until Jan. 12, city staff recommend $50,055 be used for public services, which includes $34,834 still available from the first round of CDBG funds.

But to date, the city hasn’t received any applications for the $50,055 in public service funding, Salisbury Housing Planner Candace Edwards told the Post on Monday.

Edwards said she wants local organizations to know they don’t have to be a nonprofit agency to receive funds. For-profit organizations and governmental entities that have been impacted by the pandemic and service low-to-moderate income individuals and families living in Salisbury are also eligible for a piece of the $50,055 funding earmarked for public service agencies.

The application process, Edwards said, is simple and short. The required attachments include documentation organizations readily have available, such as a list of board members and contact info and last-year summaries and financial data.

The deadline is Feb. 19, but Edwards said it can be extended if needed.

“The funds are here. We want to help,” she said.

She added that many nonprofit organizations struggle to obtain funding, and it can be an even bigger challenge during the pandemic, particularly with extra costs associated with implementing COVID-19 guidelines.

Spencer Dixon, the resource and media coordinator at Family Crisis Council, said the nonprofit has received some CDBG funding from other sources, including an allotment from the NC Emergency Solutions grant program, which is a coordination between the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and HUD.

But funding is always needed, especially as the Family Crisis Council “keeps one eye past the pandemic,” Dixon said. It’s possible the organization will apply for some of the public service agency funds, but Dixon is still reviewing all the specific criteria for allocation that are required with the other state and federal funds received.

Besides being unaware that they’re eligible for the funds, Edwards said some organizations might have also prioritized other COVID-19 relief funds that had tighter deadlines. Many grants and resources provided in the CARES Act had a deadline for all funds to be spent by Dec. 31.

However, organizations have 36 months to spend any allotments they receive from the $50,055 pot of funds earmarked for public service agencies in the available CDBG funds.

Mayor Karen Alexander said the city encourages both past and new applicants to seek funds.

“That’s $50,000 that could be going to grassroots organizations that are helping our most vulnerable,” she said. “We want to get the word out to smaller entities that sometimes get overlooked but are doing great work in the community.”

Locals can contact Edwards for additional information via candace.edwards@salisburync.gov or 704-638-5324. The application can be completed online by visiting salisburync.gov/Government/Community-Planning-Services/Housing-and-Neighborhoods#CDBG.

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