Flint, MI—The City of Flint has launched its application process for grants funded by COVID-19 relief dollars. 

As of 12 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2023, eligible nonprofits, businesses, and community-based organizations can apply for the grants, which are supported by $15.66 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

The city asks that applicants plan to administer programs in housing and blight elimination, public health, and economic development. The application period will close on March 24 at 5 p.m.

“We’re going to enlist the services of our partners, making sure that we can get some of these dollars to our residents, making sure it’s going to be a fair and equitable disbursement,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said at a press conference on Jan. 23. 

Below is a breakdown of funds available for the three priority program areas targeted by the grants: 

Housing and blight elimination: $8.16 million 

  • Home repair and improvement grants: $5 million 
  • Gap financing for residential and mixed-use projects: $1.4 million 
  • Neighborhood cleanup: $1.21 million 
  • Alternative uses of vacant lots: $500,000 
  • Homeowner education: $50,000 

Public health: $4.5 million 

  • Healthcare equity, access and research: $2 million 
  • Increasing food access: $1 million 
  • Mental health referrals and services support: $1 million 
  • Youth education, leadership and recreation: $500,000 

Economic development: $3 million 

  • Youth job training: $2.5 million 
  • Small business grant program: $500,000

According to Lottie Ferguson, the city’s chief resilience officer, additional funding of roughly $375,000 for small business programs will be released later. 

Ferguson anticipates the review process for applications to take 30 to 60 days, depending on the number of applications, and that organizations would have up to 45 months to expend their funds. She emphasized that individuals are not eligible to apply for these grants. 

When it comes to technical support, Ferguson said five organizations are available to provide help for applicants. That includes the North Flint Neighborhood Action Council, Neighborhood Engagement Hub, Flint Innovative Solutions, The Power Initiative and Social Impact Philanthropy and Investing. 

Ultimately, Flint City Council and Neeley will make the final decision on funding awards, according to a press release by the city, but an ARPA Community Advisory Committee will also be providing recommendations. Members of the advisory committee have not yet been announced, though the city promised more information soon.

In an interview, Neeley said “the plan is after we get applications and once we have a significant pool of applicants, then they can start going to work.” 

The city’s administration and city council members have been responsible for picking members to be part of the committee. According to Caitie O’Neill, the city’s interim communications director, the committee will include 11 to 16 individuals.

The city’s allocation of funding to the community grant program is part of the $94.7 million in ARPA funding that Flint received to respond to the COVID pandemic.

Federal guidelines require that Flint’s ARPA funding is obligated by December 31, 2024 and spent by December 31, 2026. Any ARPA funds that the city has not spent by the latter date must be returned to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Nicholas is Flint Beat’s public health and education reporter. He joins the team as he graduates from Santa Clara University, Calif. Nicholas has previously reported on dementia and brain health, as...

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