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City names recipients for latest round of coronavirus relief funding

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — City staff on Tuesday outlined how about $50,000 in federal funding will be allocated to a dozen local public service agencies impacted by the pandemic.

The city annually receives a share of Community Development Block Grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program. But in April 2020 HUD announced an additional allocation of $168,950 in funding to Salisbury because of coronavirus-relief measures passed in Congress. 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. Those agencies included Rowan Helping Ministries, Family Crisis Council, Community Care Clinic, Gateway Freedom Center, One Love Community Services, Inc., Salisbury Community Development Corporation, Gemstones and COMPASS Leadership Academy, Hood Theological Seminary, The Power Cross and Meals on Wheels.

In September, the city became eligible for a second allocation from federal relief money — this time for $200,221. 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 in January formally approved a budget for the additional funds. Based on a public hearing held Dec. 1 and public comments received until Jan. 12, city staff recommend $50,055 be used for public services, $75,000 for rent and utility assistance, $10,000 for emergency sewer lateral repair assistance, $40,000 for a homeless prevention strategy and $60,000 for small business assistance.

City staff then opened a call for applications to allocate the $50,055 to local public service agencies. Salisbury Housing Planner Candace Edwards told council members Tuesday staff received more than 30 applications for that funding, totaling at least $375,000. Based on staff recommendations, the following agencies and amounts were formally approved:

• ApSeed Early Childhood Education: $5,000 to assist an estimated 33 children aged up to 4 years old to obtain a touchpad tablet for kindergarten readiness
• Happy Roots: $3,500 for wheelbarrows, shovels, dirt mix and other tools to provide families with home garden kits
• Partners in Learning: $5,000 to provide 20 additional scholarships to assist families with child care costs
• Pedal Factory: $3,500 to provide 50 individuals with a helmet lock and safety lights in the earn-a-bike program
• Prevent Child Abuse Rowan: $5,000 for additional cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment
• S&H Youth and Adult Services: $9,000 to cover utility costs for one year
• Bridge 4 Kids: $3,000 to provide 30-35 school-aged children with food assistance twice a week
• Piedmont Players Theatre, Inc.: $5,000 to provide an estimated 6,000 students with subsidized tickets
• Abundant Living Adult Day Services, Inc.: $2,500 to continue its activities for seniors
• Thelma Smith Foundation South Branch: $2,500 for its mentoring program and to provide families with grocery assistance and cleaning products
• Triple Threat Dance & Charm Performing Arts Visual Academy: $4,000 to continue assisting students with reading and writing skills on its “bonus day” of Wednesday
• J. F. Hurley Family YMCA: $7,000 to provide scholarships for 70-80 children to attend its 10-week summer camp

Edwards said the allocated amounts total $55,000, which includes an additional $5,000 leftover from the previous funding from one agency that rejected the funds after it shut down.

Following a request from council member David Post, City Attorney Graham Corriher agreed to work with Edwards to determine if those amounts could be funneled through the Friends of Rowan program, a local nonprofit that doubles donations to various agencies.

The city is currently accepting applications for a pool of Community Development Block Grant funding received annually. The primary use of those funds is the development of viable communities with decent housing, a suitable living environment and expanded economic opportunities, primarily for low-to-moderate-income families and individuals. Applications will be accepted until Friday. The online application and more information is available at salisburync.gov/Government/Community-Planning-Services/Grants-and-Incentives/Community-Development-Block-Grant.

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