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CARES Act funding to organizations made easier by MHDC

Missouri’s Housing Development Commission (MHDC) passed a measure meant to speed up the distribution of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to organizations that apply for it. 

The measure covers the distribution of CARES Act Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) funds. These funds, amounting to $28 million from the federal government to the state of Missouri, go toward funding organizations such as nonprofits and local governments and municipalities. 

Those attempting to secure ESG funds must submit letters of intent and wait for approval by the board. The letters would note the dollar amount the organization is estimated to need, and the commission would distribute an initial $250,000 with more available as needed up to the originally requested amount. Data provided by staff showed the number of requests varying from one day to the next.

Currently, commission meetings do not follow a consistent schedule. Allowing staff to make decisions day-by-day would allow for a faster response and distribution of funds, according to Community Initiatives Manager Steve Whitson, who proposed the change to the board.

The commissioners covered the issue for much of Tuesday’s remotely-held agenda meeting before passing an amended version of the suggestion. The commission agreed to a system that would compile requests every week, rather than daily, and allow for commissioners, rather than staff, to approve the funding within 24 hours. The change allows for the commission to retain control over approval while decreasing the time that it takes for the funding to be distributed. 

The commission covered a number of other issues during its agenda meeting, including the administration of funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

The funds are provided by HUD according to the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act, which allows MHDC to subcontract under the Department of Senior Services as the distributor. The budget for the 2021 fiscal year is set at $2,779,440, which the commissioners agreed to.

The MHDC also agreed to a recommendation to allow for the use of ESG program funds for priorities established by HUD. These priorities include re-housing, street outreach, emergency shelter, and homelessness prevention. 

The commission considered the approval of MHDC’s overall budget for the 2021 fiscal year. The budget contains expected numbers for total operations, with aid from the CARES Act and various other assistance programs, as well as estimated numbers in the areas of the asset base, operating fund, mortgage programs, and administrative expenses. The agenda listed the total expected revenue for FY21 to be approximately $248,863,000 with expenses of $229,585,000.

The commission also passed a resolution that will allow for the distribution of a maximum of $300 million in single-family mortgage revenue bonds to allow for 30-year fixed-rate loans for homebuyers. MHDC also approved the application of a housing development in Springfield for a low-income housing tax credit program.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For up-to-date information on coronavirus, check with the CDC and DHSS.