01STOCK_JANESVILLE_WATERTOWER

JANESVILLE

Local nonprofits could receive thousands of dollars in federal funding to help people whose income has been threatened by the coronavirus pandemic.

Janesville’s community development block grant program received $286,421 from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act to help people “prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus,” according to a city memo.

The Community Development Authority on Wednesday unanimously passed an amendment to its substantial plan to allow for action to be taken once more information about how the money may be spent is available.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has not yet issued guidance to municipalities for how funds could or should be used, but the department has said funds should be spent “expeditiously,” Housing Director Kelly Bedessem said.

City staff chose to start with amending the plan so funds could be distributed as soon as possible after guidance is given, Bedessem said.

The city council will have to approve the plan amendment. Proposals for fund distributions would have to be approved by the Community Development Authority individually, Bedessem said.

Bedessem reached out to local nonprofits that receive community development block grants to ask how much money they would request and how it would be spent.

The following requests were made:

  • Community Action of Rock and Walworth Counties requested $10,000 to help 10 Janesville residents through its Fatherhood Initiative.
  • ECHO requested $60,000 to help at least 45 households with emergency rent assistance for up to two months.
  • HealthNet requested $55,000 to help at least 55 people who have experienced economic loss receive medical, mental health, vision or dental care.
  • Project 16:49 did not submit a request.

Funds could also help cover administrative costs, Bedessem said.

City officials hope to use some of the money to buy a new car for housing staff use and new project and loan management software, according to a memo.

Staff currently use a 1999 Chevrolet S10 and the software the city currently uses is inadequate, Bedessem said.

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