By Michael Praats | April 15, 2021 at 12:01 PM EDT – Updated April 16 at 12:18 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The American Rescue Plan, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that was passed in March did more than just provide $1,400 direct payments to Americans, in fact, the plan allocated money to a number of different plans and programs, one of which is the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In total HUD received $5 billion and, as a part of that money given to HUD, the City of Wilmington is set to receive $2.5 million in additional funding to support affordable housing initiatives in the Port City. The funding comes at a time when homelessness and the risk of homelessness are at an all-time high due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The nearly $5 billion in HOME-ARP funding is the first of two homelessness-related funding opportunities from the American Rescue Plan that HUD will release. In the coming weeks, HUD will announce the allocation of funding for emergency vouchers for people experiencing and at-risk of homelessness,” according to a HUD press release.
Affordable housing has been an ongoing issue for the Cape Fear region as more people flock to the area and home values continue to go up. Further, a recent housing study found that more than half of all renters in the area are considered cost-burdened meaning they spend more than 30% of their annual income on housing.
City of Wilmington Spokesperson Jennifer Dandron said the city has not yet been told exactly how the funding needs to be spent, but there are programs the city already offers using HUD funding.
“The $2.5 million is supplemental funding to what we are already awarded from HUD which is just under $700,000. While HUD has not released guidance on how this funding should be allocated or any criteria for programming we do know it will be used for affordable housing, which is an issue the city is making progress on,” she said.
Programs the city already offers include the Home Ownership Pool which is a loan program that provides up to $25,000 in down payment assistance for participants, minor housing repair loans, and even funds to help develop affordable housing for developers.
Those interested in learning more about the programs and how to receive some of the city’s funding residents can visit their website for more information.
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