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Over $10.3 million requested in ARPA funding to address community violence in Columbia


Community organizations are asking for more than $10.3 million in pandemic stimulus money to carry out their proposals to reduce violence in Columbia.

ABC 17 News obtained a copy of the American Rescue Plan Act records that the City of Columbia has made open to the public after a city council vote last week.

Community violence has been an issue at the forefront of public life in Columbia recently. In the last month, Columbia has had a shooting death in the Plush Lounge parking lot and a shots-fired incident on Claudell Lane.

The records show the 51 letters of intent received by the city that will be moving forward in the application process, while four proposals from the City of Columbia are still pending review by an external review committee.  Each applicant could apply under one of eight categories that the city determined that the second half of ARPA funding should go to. The breakdown of applicants by category that advanced is as follows:

  • 12 -- Community violence 
  • 12 -- Workforce development  
  • Eight -- Homelessness
  • Eight -- Workforce Support
  • Six-- Access to Services
  • Four -- Affordable Housing
  • One -- Mental Health

Three of the four letters of intent from the city deal with affordable housing and the fourth is meant to tackle homelessness.

Of the 20 that sent in an application under community violence, 12 scored high enough to advance. The 12 applications totaled $7,273,075.00 to address community violence.

Here is a breakdown of each community violence request that scored high enough to advance.

Organization Name of proposalCategoryRequest 
United Community BuildersBeacon of Light Community CenterCommunity Violence $ 1,000,000.00
In2ActionCommunity Enrichment CenterCommunity Violence $ 750,000.00
Boone County Nature SchoolBoone County Nature SchoolCommunity Violence $ 200,000.00 
Columbia Housing Authority Bear Creek Moving Ahead After School and Summer School ExpansionCommunity Violence $ 296,316.00
Columbia Housing AuthorityKinney Point Community Facility RenovationsCommunity Violence $ 201,000.00
Columbia Supreme Youth Mentoring ProgramCommunity Violence $ 289,192.00
Powerhouse Community Building Bridges Over BarriersCommunity Violence $ 1,327,312.00
Columbia Neighborhood WatchExpand the Neighborhood WatchCommunity Violence $ 18,407.00
You Empowered!An Alternative to the STREETS and Daughter of the King Mentor ProjectCommunity Violence $ 1,958,950.00
Destiny of H.O.P.E.DOH ARPA (2023-2026)Community Violence $ 465,349.00
Kingdom KonnectionsHarm ReductionCommunity Violence $ 686,549.00
True NorthTrue North's Advocacy CenterCommunity Violence $ 80,000.00 
Source: City of Columbia

You can see the full list of applicants here:

The Columbia housing authority had two requests, Bear Creek moving ahead after school and summer school expansion and renovations to the Kinney Point community facility  under the community violence label that advanced. 

Randy Cole, the CEO of the Columbia Housing Authority explained how those requests will help curb community violence in the city's eyes. 

"We're gonna have a variety of programming for youth and families through the Columbia Housing Authority,” Cole said. “Within the RFP it mentioned after school programming for youth and programming for families to assist with household stability.”

The American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It provided state and local governments with $350 billion in additional funding in the wake of losses suffered during the COVID pandemic. Columbia was awarded $25.2 million. The City Council set priorities on mental health care, homelessness, community violence and workforce development for the first half of the funding. 

The Department of Public Health and Human Services led a community engagement process to identify some community funding priorities for the second half of the funding. They looked over 4,470 surveys, held 12 focus groups to collect input and presented the findings to the City Council in November. 

Once the city opened up applications, it received 95 letters of intent submitted by 58 organizations for a total of just under $96 million in requests. 

The requests were scored by an internal review committee by staff. The criteria for scoring were published on Applicants who scored at or above the average score and met the ARPA eligibility requirements were invited to move toward the next phase. 

The letters of intent that scored at or above average equaled $35.81 million in funding requests, which was still above the city's $25.2 million allocated in funds.

The records show the 40 letters of intent sent to the city as part of the application process did not make it to the next round.

Of the eight that sent in an application under community violence that did not advance, Kingdom Konnections requested the most funding at $ 1,260,760. The next highest was the Columbia Housing Authority, which requested $755,132.00. 

Here is a breakdown of each community violence request that was denied. 

Organization Name of proposalCategoryRequest 
Columbia Housing AuthorityCHA Family Self-Sufficiency Program CoordinatorCommunity Violence$ 755,132.00
City of RefugeCity of Refuge Preschool Community Violence$ 258,000.00 
Love ColumbiaHealthy Homes and Tables Community Violence$ 279,000.00
Columbia Neighborhood WatchColumbia Neighborhood WatchCommunity Violence$ 68,002.00
Kingdom KonnectionsHarm Reduction Project Community Violence$1,260,760.00
The District, Downtown CIDAlleyway Safety Lighting and CamerasCommunity Violence$ 108,000.00 
The District, Downtown CIDSafe and Clean Marketing Campaign Community Violence$ 48,000.00
The District, Downtown CIDHospitality and Outreach Ambassador Pilot ProgramCommunity Violence$ 344,810.00
Source: City of Columbia

The 51 organizations that scored high enough to move to the next phase have until June 9 to submit proposals. They will be reviewed by an external ARPA committee in July and will have recommendations to the council in August. Columbia must spend the funds by the end of 2026 or pay them back to the federal government.

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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