Through Effective Community Partnerships, Walla Walla Receives Additional CARES Act Funding | Governments

While some cities have struggled to effectively spend the influx of federal COVID-19 relief funds, Walla Walla and her community partners have been so effective in allocating the funds they have received more than they should have. other.

At a Sept. 14 city council meeting, the city accepted $81,606 in additional CARES Act grants through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program.

The new funds will continue Walla Walla’s support for the Blue Mountain Action Council’s emergency living payments, helping some pandemic-affected residents pay for utilities, rent and mortgages.

Specifically, the new funds come from HUD’s Coronavirus-3 Reallocation, which took CDBG CARES Act funds that jurisdictions were allocated but were unable to distribute before federal deadlines and reallocated them to communities. who have spent at least 99% of the funds they have received.

The Walla Walla CDBG program was selected as a recipient of the CV-3 reassignment due to its strong partnership with two organizations serving the region – Mercy Corps Northwest and BMAC – and the successful and timely distribution by these CDBG agencies- Resume previously attributed to Walla Walla. funds, according to the press release.

In rare cases, some smaller communities have turned down the funds outright, either because they thought they didn’t need it or didn’t want it, according to reports from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Other communities have simply struggled to spend their CDBG CARES Act funds on eligible programs, said Lydia Caudill, Community Development Block Grants Coordinator for the City of Walla Walla.

“Different jurisdictions have struggled to use their funds,” Caudill said in a brief interview. “I have heard of some jurisdictions that have not used millions in CDBG funds. But we were able to get those funds out. »

Of the thousands of “eligible” communities that are broadly eligible for CDBG funds, Walla is one of 22 U.S. cities selected to receive a CV-3 Repurposing Grant, and is the only recipient in HUD Region 10, made up of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, according to a city press release. In total, the CV-3 reallocation sent $3 million to these 22 communities.

The additional money is in addition to the $503,590 in CARES Act funds the city has already received through HUD’s CDBG program, one of several funnels through which CARES Act funds have flowed, according to the service. city ​​finances.

Of these previously allocated funds, $350,000 was used to provide grants to local businesses impacted by the pandemic through the Walla Walla Small Business Relief Program, which was organized in May 2020. Administered by Mercy Corps Northwest, the program provided direct financial assistance to 250 local businesses.

Another $153,590 of funds from Walla Walla’s CDBG CARES Act was used to support BMAC’s assistance to low-to-moderate income residents affected by the pandemic, including assistance with utilities, rent and the mortgage. More than 460 people in 265 households have been supported through BMAC’s use of funds from Walla Walla’s CDBG CARES Act.

“These funds have allowed us to help many customers who are not eligible for our other assistance for one reason or another,” said BMAC’s director of energy and rental assistance, Sylvia Schaeffer, in a press release. “The ability to provide these services has a very significant impact on segments of our community that have struggled and are still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it continues to have on families.”

For more information or to determine if a resident is eligible for emergency living payments, call 509-529-4980 and ask for the Rent/Energy team.