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City of Decatur faces significant obstacles in distributing COVID-19 relief funding to individuals in need
The City of Decatur has faced significant obstacles in distributing COVID-19 relief funding to individuals in need. On October 5, 2020, the Decatur City Council approved $511,810 in Community Development Block Grant-CV funds to provide rent/mortgage and utility assistance to individuals negatively impacted by the pandemic. Thru April 2021, $52,632.13 has been distributed to 20 families.
The city needs to find more effective ways to distribute COVID-19 relief funds to individuals and entities that are in need of assistance. A key first step would be for the federal government to make it easier for funds that cities receive to be distributed by loosening regulations on its disbursement. As the regulations currently are written, it may be easier for individuals to apply for a mortgage than to apply for emergency relief funds during the greatest public health crisis of our lifetimes.
I thank Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post for his article highlighting the logistic challenges that cities face in distributing funding to the individuals most in need. Hopefully, this will serve as a catalyst to ensure that funding available is fully and quickly distributed. The article can be found at the following link: In Decatur, Ill. officials are struggling to spend more than a half million in federal rental assistance - The Washington Post