Dayton seeks $5 million to fight homelessness, expand housing supply

Terrance Smith, an outreach worker for Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, collects donated backpacks at the National Homeless persons' Memorial Day held at Courthouse Square on Tuesday Dec. 21, 2021. The backpacks were filled with items homeless people need. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

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Terrance Smith, an outreach worker for Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, collects donated backpacks at the National Homeless persons' Memorial Day held at Courthouse Square on Tuesday Dec. 21, 2021. The backpacks were filled with items homeless people need. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

City Commission approved resolution on first step toward federal HUD funds

Dayton hopes to get more than $5 million in federal funds to help the homeless and residents who are at risk of homelessness, as well as other vulnerable community members.

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides billions of dollars to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to assist these individuals. Dayton qualifies for funds and hopes to receive a sizable allocation.

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Backpacks filled with items for Dayton's homeless population line the stage on Courthouse Square at a December memorial. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Backpacks filled with items for Dayton's homeless population line the stage on Courthouse Square at a December memorial. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

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Backpacks filled with items for Dayton's homeless population line the stage on Courthouse Square at a December memorial. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

According to HUD, the funds can be used to produce or preserve affordable housing; provide tenant-based rental assistance; purchase and develop non-congregate shelters; and pay for supportive services, like housing counseling and homelessness prevention assistance.

Dayton is required to submit a formal 2021 action plan amendment to HUD to obtain the funding. City Commissioner Shenise Turner-Sloss expressed concern at Wednesday’s city commission meeting over a hurried process to approve the resolution. But the commission did vote to submit the plan amendment and accept an award from HUD, through the Home Investment Partnerships Program.

HUD will make more than $500,000 in funding immediately available to Dayton, which can be used for administration and planning activities to help complete the action plan amendment, says a memo from Todd Kinskey, Dayton’s director of planning and community development.

City Manager Shelley Dickstein said the commission’s vote will get the work moving. She called the funding “a high priority” given the challenges that many residents face.

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Volunteers collect donations to benefit homeless students in the Dayton Public Schools district. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Volunteers collect donations to benefit homeless students in the Dayton Public Schools district. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Volunteers collect donations to benefit homeless students in the Dayton Public Schools district. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The action plan amendment and a citizen participation plan must be submitted to HUD before the agency will release additional formula grant funding in response to COVID, the resolution states.

The resolution says an initial public meeting was held to gather input from citizens likely impacted by the proposed community development and housing activities.

In 2020, more than 3,444 households and 4,100 people experienced homelessness in Montgomery County, according to data from Montgomery County Homeless Solutions.

“Housing is a fundamental need that protects people from illness, violence and premature death,” said Montgomery County Commissioner Carolyn Rice, in advance of a December vigil in remembrance of local homeless people who have died.

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Carolyn Rice speaks at a Dayton vigil memorializing local people who died after battling homelessness.

Carolyn Rice speaks at a Dayton vigil memorializing local people who died after battling homelessness.

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Carolyn Rice speaks at a Dayton vigil memorializing local people who died after battling homelessness.

Ohio is expected to receive more than $200 million in Home program funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to help expand the supply of housing and services to address homelessness.

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