Amherst seeks proposals for block grant funding

  • Downtown Amherst GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 6/23/2021 10:50:23 AM

AMHERST — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amherst used Community Development Block Grant money to support food and housing programs, youth mentoring initiatives and economic self-sufficiency for immigrants.

With the town eligible to seek up to $825,000 from the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development as a 2021 mini-entitlement community, officials are in the midst of soliciting applications from social service agencies and for non-social services projects that will benefit low- and moderate-income households.

Up to 20% of the money, or $165,000, can go to five social service agencies, while the remainder, aside from 10% to 15% for general administration, is directed toward projects.

All activities must be completed in 18 months, between Jan. 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

Earlier this year, before state officials announced a delay in the process, the town received applications for funding from seven social service agencies, and projects that included building three miles of publicly accessible trails through Hickory Ridge Golf Course, renovating sidewalks on Kellogg Avenue in downtown Amherst and improve accessibility at the Bangs Community Center and Munson Memorial Library.

Planner Ben Breger said this process had to start over due to the state delay. Proposals submitted in the early winter will need to be resubmitted for consideration, he said.

The CDBG Advisory Committee held a public hearing on June 16 to receive input on the community priorities. That committee determined that the priorities for 2021 are “to maintain a balanced approach among household stabilization: including housing, family and individual; support services for those experiencing homelessness; youth development; services that help develop economic self-sufficiency (adult education and job training); and food and nutrition programs.”

For more information, visit https://www.amherstma.gov/1122/CDBG-Advisory-Committee. All proposals have to be received by July 27 at noon.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.
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