In response to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19) the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant program has notified Cumberland County that they will receive a formula allocation from the first round of CDBG-CV funding to be used specifically for the prevention of, preparation for, and response to the Coronavirus. This allocation was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Public Law 116-136, which was signed on March 27, 2020. The City of South Portland was granted a set aside of $251,597.00.
Use of the CDBG CARES Act Funding
Understanding our community’s needs and the strategies with the highest probability of success are key to an expedited response that also establishes a solid foundation to sustain the effort over time. To do this we identified the highest needs of our residents and whether gaps exist that could be filled. We also evaluated the capacity to deliver certain services and assistance, and the best approach to meet those needs. This process included a review of organizations and systems that are already in place, as well as our community partners and vendors that have the capacity to assist the City with providing resources and assistance to residents in need. The City has identified the most urgent needs as follows: safe and stable housing and homeless prevention, food security and assistance, income and employment, including job creation/retention particularly for low-to-moderate income (LMI) residents and microenterprises owned by LMI residents. The City also reviewed community needs categorized as preparation and prevention, particularly related to public safety. Some of the needs identified were valid, but either did not fall under the CDBG programs national objective or required a more sustained effort over time.
Summary of Applications received For South Portland
Greater Portland Council of Governments- Job Retention Program The program would target small businesses that have between two (2) to twenty-five (25) employees. The program would be available to for-profit businesses located within the Cumberland County Entitlement Jurisdiction (excluding Portland, Bridgton and Brunswick). Please note, South Portland would receive a set aside of approximately $50,000 for businesses located in South Portland. These businesses would be identified, tracked, and reported separately to Cumberland County. The Program provides loans up to $10,000 to businesses most impacted by Coronavirus that are in danger of closing, have laid off workers, or have had to close temporarily. Applicants can request up to $10,000 ($2,500 per job, up to four jobs). The loan is forgivable if businesses utilize the funds to maintain, rehire, or create the specified number of jobs. To be eligible, employees of retained jobs must be residents of the Cumberland County, who meet the County’s definition of being low to moderate income, who earn 80% of the area median income.
Amount Funded by South Portland CDBG- CV $50,000.00
Greater Portland Council of Governments- Microenterprise Program. To be eligible under this category, the business applicant must earn under 80% of the Area Median Income and have five or fewer employees, including the business applicant. The Program provides loans up to $5,000 to businesses most impacted by Coronavirus that are in danger of closing or have had to close temporarily. The loan is forgivable for eligible purposes. Applicants must be residents of the Cumberland County, who meet the County’s definition of being low to moderate income, earning 80% of the area median income or less. The microenterprise business must also be located within the Cumberland County Entitlement Jurisdiction (excluding Portland, Bridgeton and Brunswick). Please note, South Portland would receive a set aside of $50,000 available to businesses located in South Portland. These businesses would be identified, tracked, and reported separately to Cumberland County. GPCOG is requesting $150,000 in CDBG-CV funds
Amount Funded by South Portland CDBG -CV $50,000.00
TOA- Homeless Prevention- The Cumberland County Homelessness Prevention Program (CCHP) is an existing program at The Opportunity Alliance (TOA). CCHP provides comprehensive and adaptive housing case management for those at risk of homelessness or already experiencing homelessness. CCHP serves families and individuals who live in Cumberland County (excluding Portland, Brunswick and Frye Island). TOA is requesting $215,000.00. Of which a set aside of $86,000 will be provided to South Portland Residents.
Amount Funded by South Portland CDBG-CV $86,000.00
The South Portland Food Cupboard. Since March 11, 2020, the number of individuals served by the Food Cupboard monthly has steadily increased to a current total averaging 30% more than those served in the past year. While it is our hope that the demand will level off as businesses and schools begin to reopen and employment increases, it is impossible to predict to what extent and when that may occur or how the people we serve will be affected. The South Portland Food Cupboards typical sources of cash donations have been severely impacted by the necessary reactions to the public health crisis. They have had to cancel significant fundraising events, and while our communities and neighbors continue to be generous in their support of the Food Cupboard, they too are impacted by the sudden and pervasive limitations required to respond to the virus. Faithful donors of the food cupboard are also faced with diminished resources and they alone cannot provide the additional support necessary to meet the increased and continuing demand generated by this crisis as they have in the past. As such the Food Cupboard is requesting $35,000.00 in CDBG funds.
Amount Funded by South Portland CDBG-CV $35,000.00
The City of South Portland General Assistance – Emergency Funds. The City of South Portland General Assistance department is seeking $10,000.00 in CDBG funds to assist the department in providing emergency assistance benefits in the form of emergency housing, food and other essential needs and expenses.
Amount Funded by the South Portland CDBG-CV $21,497
CCEJ Southern Maine Agency on Aging- The Southern Maine Agency on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program provides home-delivered and nutrition meals to older adults who are homebound and unable to shop for or prepare adequate meals on their own. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed and magnified many of the challenges older adults face in our communities every day – access to food, social isolation, mobility issues, and access to medications and healthcare. The Program is requesting $55,900 for County Wide services and $9,100 to include the South Portland Set-side funding.
Amount Funded by South Portland CDBG-CV $9,100
For more information or to view the report please click the link below.