Application process begins for Flint ARPA grant funding

The city of Flint is ready to spend more of its share of American Rescue Plant Act (ARPA) money. Flint was awarded a total of $94.7 million in ARPA funds.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 12:37 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - The city of Flint is ready to spend more of its share of American Rescue Plant Act (ARPA) money. Flint was awarded a total of $94.7 million in ARPA funds.

Mayor Sheldon Neeley said 40 percent of that money has already been spent on what city leaders deemed top priorities. Now, the city is looking to spend another $15 million dollars in ARPA money on eligible organizations that serve Flint residents. The community grant funding is a portion of the $94.7 million Flint was awarded under the federal aid program designed to help the nation recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

TV5 took a closer look at how this portion of ARPA funds will be split up and how organizations can apply for it.

“These dollars are to be used as a mechanism and magnets to be able to provide services for residents,” Neeley said.

The mayor said eligible organizations can apply for ARPA funds to administer programs that will serve residents in three areas, housing and blight elimination, public health, and economic development.

The allocation amount for community grant programs was determined by the Flint City Council and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley after a community engagement process to identify Flint residents’ priorities for the ARPA funding.

Flint’s Chief Resilience Officer Lottie Ferguson said this process is for organizations only.

“The applications are not available for individuals at this time. The application is for organizations, non-profit organizations, community organizations, businesses, to apply for these dollars. And then at that time, those folks who are awarded the dollars will be able to provide direct services to residents,” she explained.

In using this portion of ARPA money, Flint is planning to spend $8 million for housing and blight elimination programs to address vacant lots, neighborhood cleanup, homeowner education, home repair and improvement, and gap financing.

$3 million is allocated for economic development, which includes youth job training and small business grants. More grant programs in this category are planned.

There is also $4 million allocated for public health which will include healthcare equity, access, research, increasing food access, mental health referrals, and youth wellness programs for education, leadership, and recreation.

Ferguson said all the APRA funds will be used the right way.

“There’s also support available to those who may not have completed a federal application before. There are a lot of requirements that go into this process,’ Ferguson said. “We need to make sure that the city of Flint stays compliant. We, as the mayor said, have no intentions on returning any money, or having to pay back funds because there were misjudgments in the spending.”

Organizations have until March 27 to apply. Final ARPA award decisions will be made by the Flint City Council and Neeley.

“These dollars are one-time dollars, transformational dollars, and they will be used in many different ways to be able to have a transformational effect on this community,” Neeley said.

The application and program requirements are listed on the city of Flint’s website.