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Columbia Housing Commission Held Public Hearing Wednesday Over CARES Act Funding

The City of Columbia Housing and Community Development Commission held a public hearing Wednesday night related to the Community Development Block Grant funds provided from the CARES Act.

The city received $737,588 in Round 3 of CDBG-CV funding from the CARES Act that Congress allocated on March 27th.

Housing Programs Manager Randy Cole said the funding can be used for a variety of COVID-19 related needs within the community such as, but not limited to, rent and mortgage assistance, food security and public services provided by non-profits.

Activities must relate to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that is responding, preparing or becoming more resilient as the pandemic moves forward.

Debbie Graham, President of the board for Room at the Inn, says this will be a season not like any other and that more funding for her organization would help.

“Quite frankly it’s just like everyone else, learning as we go. We’ve never run a shelter in the middle of a pandemic before,” Graham said.

Nick Foster, Executive Director at the Voluntary Action Center, said his organization already received money for rent and mortgage assistance and is interested to see if they will receive more. “(I’m) Also interested in what they might do about directing services for people who are literally homeless, people who are on the streets, and don’t have a place to lay their heads,” Foster said.

The city will release a public survey that will help determine where the funds will end up being allocated to throughout the community.

The survey will be identical to one the city sent out during the first round of funding, when the city received $573,473.

The City of Columbia has scheduled five virtual public hearing sessions on October 28th and 29th. For the link to sign up for a session, click here.