Wednesday, June 19, 2024

City offering $388K to organizations for homelessness services and shelter

Wilmington’s community development and housing division is doling out $338,130 to organizations to offer new services supporting the homeless or expand current programs. (Port City Daily/File)

WILMINGTON — The city is allocating hundreds of thousands of dollars toward services to assist the homeless, provide shelter and prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Wilmington’s community development and housing division released a request for proposals Monday seeking qualified firms to offer public services benefiting the low-income population. The money will support emergency shelter for homeless individuals and families, shelter services to respond to the impact of Covid-19 or prevent the spread for people with limited or no access to housing, and rehousing for homeless individuals, for up to three months.

READ MORE: City doles out nearly $1M to support rehab of 15 affordable housing units

There is $338,130 up for grabs in Community Development Block Grant funds, distributed to the city by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since 1975, the city biennially issues RFPs to award money to community partners working on public services, public facilities or housing repair programs.

Nonprofits, government agencies and private companies are all eligible to apply for a portion of the money, providing evidence it will support vulnerable populations and assist with services and shelter. Items paid for by CDBG grants must either prepare for, respond to or prevent Covid-19, according to the city’s RFP. 

An organization can use the money to offer a new service or quantifiable increase to a currently offered program. It also must be passed through an organization or provider and cannot be distributed directly to an individual or family.

Following the pandemic, U.S. Congress authorized HUD to provide supplemental community funding to communities; Wilmington received two allocations.

The first payment was for $612,032 and was appropriated for rental support, programs addressing students’ learning loss and providing food assistance.

The second was for $883,609 and programmed in the city’s fiscal year 2021-2022 annual action plan to support the construction and rehabilitation of permanent supportive housing. 

The current fiscal year action plan allocates an additional $153,114 to homeless services and shelter. The plan reports more than 1,300 individuals, more than double from the prior year, in the area accessing services, shelter and transitional housing since 2019.

According to HUD, between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, Wilmington assisted eight households with homeownership, 375 individuals with public services, and 165 people through housing facilities, and child-care centers with CDBG funding.

At its Nov. 15 meeting, city council approved $698,593 of CDBG money for the rehabilitation of Driftwood — a 15-unit permanent supportive housing complex on Princess Place Drive. That leaves the remaining $338,130 available for distribution.

In the past, CDBG funds have also been awarded to Good Shepherd, Family Promise, First Fruit Ministries, Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Leading Into New Communities, Open House Youth Shelter and the Homeless Continuum of Care.

Interested firms seeking CDBG funds can submit questions related to the RFP by Jan. 6, to which the city will answer by Jan. 13. 

All submittals must include a summary of the rehousing or rental and utility assistance program, a history of the organization and its capacity, number of staff available or needed and the cost it will take to administer services. All expenses must be detailed in a program budget, as well.

Proposals will be prioritized based on the quality, quantity and best value of services provided within the available budget. The city will negotiate with the selected firms to better define the final scope of work.

Organizations have until Jan. 27 to submit proposals and funds will be awarded Feb. 15. City staff will review all applications before making distribution recommendations to city manager Tony Caudle for approval.

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