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Friday marks last day to submit proposals for Columbia ARPA funding


Friday marks the deadline for proposals to be submitted for Columbia's American Rescue Plan funds.

Groups have asked for millions of dollars to combat everything from homelessness to community violence. By the middle of May, the city had received $31.8 million in requests for ARPA funds. 

Columbia has been awarded $25.2 million in ARPA funding. This money will help tackle the public health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The city says the first half of the funding will go toward addressing things like:

  • Homelessness
  • Community violence
  • Behavioral crisis care mental health services
  • Workforce development

The council requested the other half of the funding be allocated to priority areas pointed out by the community. According to a community-wide survey conducted last June, thousands of residents believe those priority areas include mental health access and workforce development. 

In a more recent Columbia ARPA report from May, 46 letters of intent scored at or above average to be eligible for ARPA funds out of 91 letters received.

The city says proposals will be scored based on ARPA priorities and the demonstration of need in the community. Once those proposals are submitted, they will be reviewed by an external ARPA committee in July and will provide recommendations to the council in August.

Criteria for scoring can be found on 

State of Homelessness In Boone County

Columbia's human services manager, Steve Hollis, spoke about the city's homelessness issue during a video meeting hosted by the Muleskinners Democratic Club at noon Friday.

Boone County has a total of 270 homeless individuals. The majority of them are in Columbia. this is the third-highest total since 2017. 

However, it is down from the 336 counted in 2022. 

Since 2016 the city of Columbia has increased spending on homelessness services from just over sixty-eight thousand dollars (68,200) to four hundred and eighty-two thousand dollars. 

Hollis said today that the city hired someone for its newly-created senior planner position. Hollis said Kari Utterback will start in the role on Monday, while also completing some of her current jobs of handling ARPA applications for the city. Hollis previously said the person would help the city manage and coordinate homeless services programs and identify those in need of help.

In Boone County, recent projects include the creation of a youth center, approval plans for the opportunity campus, and Turning Point expanding its hours of operation. 

Phoenix Programs, which helped with drug treatment, closed. Hollis said this dealt a blow to some of the county's efforts. 

Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Kennedy Miller


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