The Allen City Council unanimously approved two resolutions on Tuesday that effectively disperse COVID-19 relief funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.
The first of these resolutions concerned over $672,000 the city received in Community Development Block Grants from HUD since July. This item allocates funds to water utility assistance, senior assistance programs such as Meals on Wheels, tutoring services for low-income students, small business grants and a community needs assessment to be conducted by Allen’s Community Enhancement Department and the University of North Texas’ School of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management.
According to Community Enhancement planning manager Erin Jones, who presented this agenda before the council, this dispersion of funds is estimated to help 46 senior citizens and between 75 to 100 low-income students.
Jones also presented an accompanying agenda item concerning $36 million in CDBG funds the state of Texas received, of which Allen is eligible to receive $150,000. This resolution authorizes the city manager to negotiate a contract with TDHCA for this funding.
Should the funding be approved, it will come with caveats. Jones stressed that these relief efforts are part of a rental-only program and do not cover late fees accrued by the tenant or delinquency on utility payments. Moreover, applicants have to meet a fair market value test and provide proof of income, and even then, will be selected on a considerably limited referral basis.
This program is estimated to help 15 to 20 families.
“We anticipate that we will be able to accept applications on or around Feb. 15,” Jones said. “We’re going to be pulling from a lot of different pots of money for rental assistance,” including the Texas Emergency Rental Assistance Program and the Texas Eviction Diversion Program.
After the two agenda items passed, Mayor Ken Fulk commended Jones’ presentation of the relief programs in saying, “I think it’s great to see that we have extra tools available to us to be able to help people in need.”