Community Development Block Grant Proposals Pitched to Springfield City Council; CACCD

In a joint session and public hearing of the Springfield City Council and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee for Community Development (CACCD), a number of local non-profit organizations made their pitch for funding from the Community Development Block Grant funds for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year.

The public hearing allowed residents to learn the funding levels that go to administration of HUD grant programs; then local non-profit organizations explained their specific programs and the ways the funding would meet a community “red flag” through their program.

“This meeting is always very essential to set the community priorities for the coming year in how we use these funds,” Mayor Ken McClure told OI. “These agencies do stellar work and they’re so experienced in what they do. I’m always amazed in what they do with the limited funds we can provide them. The funds go to good purposes and I always learn so much at these meetings.”

The city also informed non-profit organizations that changes will be coming to the process in 2021; the current rules are being used for the 2020 decisions.

The process of grant selections takes several months and started with Tuesday’s public hearing; the City Council is anticipated to vote on the recommendations of the CACCD in April. The approved list by Council will be submitted to HUD by the end of May 2020.

Here are the program proposals; explanations for each item will be below the chart.

PRIORITIES:

AP-1 is the funding for the city staff to maintain compliance with HUD regulations and administration of the systems.

AP-2 focuses on “quality of place” and allows the program to support City Council priorities to improve life for low-income residents of Springfield.

H-1 This program provides housing for low-income residents. Over 400 units are currently part of the program. The low-income homeowners in the program contribute to the upkeep of their residence.

ED-1 This program is for job creation. This is a HUD requirement, but it is also a city of Springfield objective. The program partners with businesses to enhance commercial development in the city to spur job creation.

PS-1, or One Door, is a HUD requirement for intake of low-income residents into the program. Community Partnership of the Ozarks oversees and operates the program.

H-2, H-3, H-4, H-5 are the emergency home repair program working with four local charitable organizations: OACAC Weatherization Program, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, Council of Churches of the Ozarks, Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, Missouri. The four programs working together make the funds reach more homes than possible individually.

DISCRETIONARY (these are proposals from local charitable organizations. All asking $24,900 in funding):

H-6 Proposal from the Housing Authority of the City of Springfield. Their proposal concerns Cedarbrook and 80 units at the facility. When the buildings were built, the plumbing was placed under concrete, so they have to completely demolish the inside of units to clear the plumbing and rebuild them to make plumbing repairs more accessible to the Housing Authority.

PS-2 Proposal from the Salvation Army. Their proposal is for the Salvation Army Emergency Social Services Program. The program funded 26 households last year to keep the families from being on the street and the funding will continue the program and work to expand the program to get more families off the street. The funds keep families facing hardship in housing during times of difficulty; the families eventually find ways to obtain housing on their own. The Salvation Army gets hundreds of requests a month for help with housing.

PS-3 Presentation from Great Circle (formerly Boys & Girls Town of Missouri). Their proposal is for their Empowering Youth program. The Springfield campus houses the Ozarks Family Resource Center which provides emergency shelter to kids who find themselves suddenly without parents or guardians. The program also helps children who are homeless by providing shelter, job training, and life skills lessons. They hope to be able to help 100 children under this proposal.

PS-4 Presentation from Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri. Their proposal is for the LifeHouse Crisis Maternity Home Residential and Aftercare Program. It is an emergency shelter for pregnant women that provides counseling, healthcare, education & life skills training, and housing. All of the women in the program were homeless when taken into the program. The program takes women 18 years of age or older. Many have had no health care during their pregnancy, addiction, and domestic violence issues. Women can stay for up to a year after delivery of their babies. Their average length of stay is just over eight months, and most women do not come into the program until the second or third trimester of their pregnancy.

PS-5 Presentation by Community Partnership of the Ozarks. Their proposal is for the Making Sense of Money Financial Literacy Program. They have been working to promote financial education in the community for 12 years. This proposal is for their four week basic education system. The program helps attendees understand from an emotional aspect why they spend the money in the manner they do and ways they can improve their spending habits. The class has been request by local businesses like Coxhealth to help their employees who are struggling with financial issues. The funding would allow expansion of the program and creation of new graduate programs.

PS-6 Presentation by the Betty and Bobby Allison Ozarks Counseling Center. Their proposal is for their Mental Healthcare programs for Low Income Springfield residents. They do not turn anyone away who needs mental health services even if they do not have the ability to pay. Mental health care treatment has been a red flag in multiple community surveys and a Top 3 Healthcare priority by health departments in the region. 400 to 500 of the patients helped by the program in the last year is children. She notes that while Bobby Allison secures their location by paying off mortgages, etc., he does not provide ongoing funding for the organization.

PS-7 Presentation by Harmony House. Their proposal is for Harmony House’s emergency shelter’s meal program. It is the only shelter for domestic violence survivors in Greene County. They provide 90 plus days of emergency shelter plus hygiene items for men, women, and children. They also provide support groups. Springfield has one of the highest rates of domestic violence per capita in the state. One-third of all assaults in the city are domestic violence related. Meals are served to residents each day at no charge; for many residents of the shelter it’s not safe for them to leave the facility to get their own meals.

PS-8 Presentation by the Crisis Nursery of the Ozarks, a/k/a Isabel’s House. Their proposal is for their Strengthening Families in Crisis program. Isabel’s House is a crisis shelter where children can stay while a parent is facing a temporary situation where they cannot care for the children in a safe way. The funds would fund a family advocate position within the SFiC program. Half of their services are given to homeless families in the community. They have a 97% success rate at returning children to safe locations with their families.

PS-9 Presentation by the Drew Lewis Foundation. Their proposal is aimed at workforce development. They have individualized programs to help low-income residents find more meaningful employment. They have seen double employment rates in the Grant Beach neighborhood with an average rise of $1,000 a month in income in households where they have been helping, with an average credit score increase of 122 points in those same homes. They provide education through the Fairbanks Community Hub and partnerships with local organizations.

PS-10 Presentation by Ozarks Food Harvest. Their proposal is for their Weekend Backpack Program that provides food for children who would go without meals on weekends they are not in school. In Springfield, 1 in 5 children live in a family where food is a critical need, and children who face hunger often have discipline issues at school and problems concentrating in school. The weekend backpack program get bags filled with six meals and snacks, such as beef ravioli, mac and cheese, cereal, pudding, and more. The primary goal is to make sure they have meals through the weekend. The program is in 60 schools in 16 counties in the Ozarks reaching over 1,600 students each year. Over 350,000 meals will be provided to children over the course of a year.

PS-11 Presentation by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield. Their proposal is for their McGregor in the Morning program. The school, which has over 80% of their students on the free or reduced lunch program, is a “late open” school, meaning they don’t open until 8:20 a.m.. In the past, before the start of the McGregor in the Morning program, many students would have to wait outside for an hour or more in cold temperatures or bad weather. The program provides food, exercise and educational opportunities for the students involved in the program. The program has access to the school’s facilities such as the gym allowing expansion of normal programs.

PS-12 Presentation by The Kitchen. Their proposal is the Rare Breed Youth Outreach Center. The program serves youth 13-24 who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. They had over 644 visits to the center in December by area youth (total visits, not total youth; some youth visited more than once during the month.)

PS-13 Presentation by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks. Their proposal is for their Lunch Buddies 1 to 1 Mentoring Program. This is a different program than the normal Big Brothers Big Sisters program where bigs get involved with the families. It’s a program that will allow them to provide a little extra help to families that may not need the full program. Twenty percent of the kids in the program have a parent who is in jail. Several of the children are in the in-school suspension programs, and the lunch buddies program allows them to talk to someone about their issues that lead to challenging behavior. When in the program, the majority of children see an improvement in behavior and rise in grades.

PS-14 Presentation by The Child Advocacy Center. Their proposal is to fund a forensic interviewer. Child abuse and neglect has been a red flag in community reports since 2007. They get 25,000 referrals a year. They currently serve a 15 county area in the Ozarks, and expect to serve 1,750 youth this year, up 150 from the previous year. 90-95% of the families that go through their programs are on Medicaid and are low-income families.

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