Lawrence City Commission adopts action plan for nearly $1.4 million in HUD grants

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Members of the Lawrence City Commission are pictured during their meeting on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

The Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday adopted an action plan required as part of its process for spending nearly $1.4 million in grant funds awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Commissioners voted 4-0, with Commissioner Amber Sellers absent, to adopt an annual action plan and investment summary for $1,357,533 in grant funds through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program, along with the other items included on the consent agenda as part of this week’s City Commission meeting.

As the Journal-World has reported, the action plan is a summary of actions and resources that will be used to address the needs and goals outlined in a broader five-year Consolidated Plan, both of which are provided to HUD. The annual action plan includes projects to be undertaken during the next CDBG and HOME grant program year, starting Aug. 1 and running through July 31, 2025.

The overall funding pool is organized into two categories. One of them is the HUD grant allocation to the city — $1,177,533 divided between CDBG and HOME projects — and the other is $180,000 in forecast program revenue.

Of that total, a small chunk of CDBG funds — $111,075 — is slated to go toward “public services” projects that already were allocated funding in 2023. That includes $58,240 to the Lawrence Community Shelter for stabilization services for guests, $49,665 to the Housing Stabilization Collaborative for emergency rent and utility assistance and $3,170 to Housing and Credit Counseling Inc. for a housing and financial counseling program.

A larger chunk of $631,349 in CDBG funds is allocated to “non-public service” projects. One recipient on the list is GoodLife Innovations Inc., which is to be awarded $146,091 to rehabilitate a group home facility, and the remaining roughly $485,000 is slated for “various city department projects.”

According to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, those projects could include emergency and rehabilitation loans for owner-occupied housing or various projects — from street restoration to sidewalk gap programs — in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, subject to eligibility, environmental review and funding availability.

The remaining $467,004 in HOME funds, meanwhile, is largely split between the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority for tenant-based rental assistance and Tenants to Homeowners for project funds and operating expenses.

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The City Commission didn’t have any items to take care of as part of its regular agenda Tuesday, and as a result had an abbreviated meeting. The annual action plan and investment summary was one of the items listed on the meeting’s consent agenda, reserved for items generally considered routine that can be approved by a single vote from commissioners without any discussion.

Also as part of the meeting’s consent agenda, commissioners approved the extension of the city’s professional services agreement with Clarion Associates for consulting work on the ongoing Land Development Code update process.

According to Tuesday’s agenda, the original agreement with the consulting firm expired in late April, but work on the code update is still in progress. The extension applies through Dec. 31 at no additional cost to the city.


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