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March 10, 2023

Interim Portland city manager wants to see more social service projects funded

Interim City Manager Danielle West is asking the city council to transfer funds from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to fund additional social service projects in recommendations for money to be spent from Community Development Block Grants. 

West explained that she “made changes to some of the [city's] Allocation Committee’s recommendations, which I believe align with the city’s goals and will assist the city’s efforts to meet the many needs within our community.”

Of the $106,531 remaining in coronavirus aid, $79,743 is earmarked for additional public restrooms.

West is recommending that the restrooms be funded with American Rescue Plan funds instead, and the coronavirus funds moved to eligible social service applications.

West is asking the city council, as suggested by the CDBG Allocation Committee, to move $150,000 needed to fund community policing from the CDBG fund to the general fund, allowing the money to be allocated toward other social services. She specifically recommends Catholic Charities ILAP and fully funding Catherine Morrill Day Nursery Childcare vouchers. She is asking for the remaining $30,000, along with the $20,000 available from a Cotton Street fund to be used for Preble Street’s Emergency Food program.

"As in past years, the City received a wide variety of competitive social service applications," said city spokesperson Jessica Grondin in a March 9 release. "Due to the significant needs identified, in addition to the annual CDBG allocation for social services, the Interim City Manager is recommending that CDBG Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding be re-programmed to fund some of the remaining CDBG applications.

Portland City Council will hold two public hearings regarding the CDBG funding, with a final vote at the second hearing, on Monday, March 20, and April 10.

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