MANSFIELD -- Thanks to the 35-day federal government shutdown that ended less than a month ago, the City of Mansfield doesn't know exactly how much money it will have to grant, nor does it know for certain when the deadline will be.
But Mansfield City Council still conducted an hour-long public hearing Tuesday evening to hear requests for Community Development Block Grant funds and the HOME Investment Partnerships program.
The City of Mansfield receives federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the form of CDBG and HOME funds.
To qualify for these grants, the Mansfield community develops and submits a consolidated plan which identifies the housing and community development needs of its low-to-moderate income residents over a five-year period.
The Home Program is a grant administered by local governments designed to create affordable housing for low income households. Examples of HOME-eligible activities include tenant based rental assistance, home-buyer activities and homeowner rehabilitation.
Requests for the two programs on Tuesday totaled almost $400,000, though final allocations will not be made by City Council and submitted until May.
That's when the city will submit its new five-year plan, identifying to Washington its housing and community development needs for low- to moderate-income residents.
Organizations who had representatives at Tuesday's meeting submitting requests were:
-- Richland County Transit: $70,000 to provide funds to support the door-to-door para-transit service required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. These funds will help provide the matching funds in order to obtain federal funds from the Federal Transit Administration.
-- North End Community Improvement Collaborative: $5,000 to help create a revolving loan fund for potential low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs who successfully complete the organization's microbusiness development program and apply for assistance with a new business plan.
-- City of Mansfield Parks and Recreation Department: $12,800 to staff the department's summer program at Ocie Hill Community Center and North Lake, Prospect and South parks. The funds will be used to hire 10 interns to staff the sites and oversee recreational activities.
-- St. Peter's Parish and School: $17,754 to remove and replace, make concrete repairs and paint the wall along the raised parking lot on the corner of South Mulberry and West First streets on the parish/school campus.
-- Harmony House: Two separate requests were made. One was for $9,000 to start a pilot program to provide transportation and clothing for shelter residents who obtain jobs. A second was for $12,000 to repair the shelter's roof, which would include a 10-year warranty.
-- Metropolitan Housing Authority: $24,000 for emergency monthly housing payments for foreclosure prevention and emergency rental payments, as well as security and utility deposits.
-- Children's Cupboard Southside Outreach: Two requests were made by the Hedges Street non-profit. One request was for $30,000 for its Fierce, Individuals, Empowered to Lead and Develop (F.I.E.L.D.) educational and recreation-based youth program, serving youth during the summer and after-school at Hedges School. Another request was for $40,000 to provide paid staff for the program.
Two other organizations filed grant applications, but did not have representatives make presentations to council members:
-- Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program: $25,000 for its Student Achievement Leadership Training program, focused on drug prevention for at-risk youth, eliminating community blight and creating youth economic development activity.
-- M.V.A.H Partners: $150,000 for Sturges Senior Lofts, a proposed housing development at the southeast corner of Park Avenue West and Sturges Avenue. The proposal includes a senior independent living community targeting residents 55 years and older. Units will be targeted to those earning between 30 percent and 70 percent of area median income.
On Tuesday, City Council also:
-- unanimously authorized Public Works Director David Remy to enter into contracts for street repaving this year.
-- voted unanimously to amend the city's personnel ordinance to reflect changes and correct a salary range error.
-- voted unanimously to authorize the city to "pick up" statutorily required contributions to the Public Employee Retirement System for AFSCME employees hired before Feb, 22, 2013.
-- gave a first reading on an ordinance authorizing the city to enter into contracts for engineering services related to the construction of a regional detention basin, known as the North Lake Park Dry Dam over Touby's Run.
-- discussed potential changes to the city's demolition permit fees and completion requirements.