ASHEVILLE — The Asheville City Council voted May 10 to award millions to 18 organizations as part of a new round of relief funding from the U.S. Rescue Act COVID-19 plan.
The city is set to award a total of $11.7 million to the organizations. It has already spent $8.3 million of the $26.2 million it must allocate.
City staff are also recommending withholding $6 million for “revenue replacement funds … for potential future projects that have already been discussed,” according to a presentation at the May 10 city council meeting.
At this meeting, council formally passed a resolution authorizing City Manager Debra Campbell to execute agreements for enforcement recommendations.
Learn more about Asheville ARPA discussions:
Members voted unanimously to authorize Campbell to distribute the funds to the following beneficiaries:
- CAP of the city of Asheville: “COA Inclusive and Accessible Government” – $514,120.
- Young Men’s Institute Cultural Center: “Community Engagement” – $800,000.
- We give a share inc. : “South Side Kitchen” – $90,000.
- Eliada Homes Inc.: “Homeless Services Program” – $473,050.
- Town of Asheville: “Litter and Cleanliness Program” – $500,000.
- Town of Asheville: “Downtown Restroom Upgrade Project” – $650,000.
- Eagle Market Streets Development Corporation: HELP2Day—$143,128.
- Food Connection Inc.: “Mobile Meals Expansion” – $221,676.
- SPARC Foundation: “Domestic Violence Intervention” – $153,483.
- Prosper Asheville: “Affordable housing” – $ 135,000.
- Aid: “Emergency Shelter for Survivors of Domestic Violence” – $2 million.
- Mountain BizCapital Inc. dba Mountain BizWorks: “Mountain Community Capital Fund” – $1.2 million.
- The Mediation Center: “Continuum of Victim Services” — $900,000.
- Back home from WNC: “Permanent Supportive Housing Expansion” – $999,900.
- Affordable housing for humanity: “Equity and Resilience” — $600,000.
- Green Built Alliance housing: “Clean Energy Upgrades” – $250,000.
- Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry: “Housing for women and children” – $ 999,900.
- Pisgah Legal Services: “Housing and Income Stability” — $1 million.
Funding for ARPA comes from the federal government and is designed to help local governments respond to the economic and public health impacts of the pandemic.
City leaders reviewed ARPA applicants through a primarily public process in which they scored and ranked organizations based on characteristics such as equity, alignment with city priorities, long-term sustainability term and investing in resilience.
“I know it took a long time,” ARPA project manager Kim Marmon-Saxe told council members May 10. this process.”
She noted that the rules for how local governments must manage these federal funds are “constantly evolving.”
While the stipends weren’t pushed back by council, member Kim Roney said the city should be more transparent with the tax paperwork associated with ARPA funding.
‘Glad to know you’re listened to’
“We’re just grateful to be able to do some of the things we plan to do with this funding,” said Jackie Latek, executive director of the SPARC Foundation, to which the city has granted $153,483 in ARPA dollars.
SPARC, an organization that “provides education and support to keep people out of institutional care,” according to its website, will use the money for domestic violence intervention.
“In Buncombe County we have high rates of domestic violence,” Latek said. “You look at the increased need for shelter beds for victims of domestic violence. It’s such significant funding that goes to these groups. And we also want to understand that one of the ways we address and reduce domestic violence in our community is really going to serve the people who commit this violence in the home.That is our role in the community.
The group will use the funding to train and reach people who use “power, control and violence in their relationships”, building a relationship to create empowerment and behavior change.
This funding in particular will be limited to addressing issues of child abuse, which have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, Latek said.
“With this funding, we will be able to bring more training to our trauma-informed care staff to really understand how someone begins to choose to use violence as a tactic in their relationships,” said- she declared.
ARPA funds are a one-time injection of dollars that some organizations will spread out over several years.
One of them is Pisgah Legal Services, which received $1 million that it will use to provide housing and income stability in partnership with Just Economics of Western North Carolina.
Pisgah Legal is a non-profit organization that provides legal assistance and advocacy to low income WNC people. Just Economics strives to educate, advocate and organize a “just and sustainable economy” at the WNC and frequently collaborates with Pisgah.
“It’s kind of a three-year delay,” said Pisgah’s attorney, David Bartholomew. “We’re going to focus on the immediate needs of tenants, basically with eviction diversion programs, landlords with foreclosure prevention, and then helping business owners and nonprofits grow in ways that better serve the public.”
Bartholomew, who sits on several city committees, said Pisgah Legal was pleased to use the funding to serve Buncombe County residents.
“It’s always nice when your community leaders and elected officials recognize that many people in our community are struggling,” he said. “We really want to make sure that we’re standing up for our customers and our tenants in general in WNC and making sure elected officials know that. … It’s nice to know you’re being listened to.”
According to Marmon-Saxony’s presentation, the City of Asheville is an ARPA subrecipient and will partner with successful applicants “to help achieve positive outcomes.”
A schedule for creating contracts with each beneficiary has been created, and the city will monitor the results of the program. These must be reported on a quarterly basis to the US Treasury Department.
“We need to define success going forward as clearly as possible to make sure everyone is aligned as closely as possible to get those results and to be accountable and able to track compliance,” Marmon-Saxe said. . “We are in great shape. We communicated very clearly throughout.”
Andrew Jones is a Buncombe County government and health care reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at @arjonesreports on Facebook and Twitter, 828-226-6203 or [email protected] Help support this type of journalism by subscribing to the Citizen Times.