Thursday, May 14, 2020

Westland to offer financial pandemic aid

Westland residents will soon have some additional resources to help with the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Members of the Westland City Council approved a funding allocation plan to utilize $657,944 in special Community Development Block Grant-CV funding for a range of actions to help prevent and respond to both the spread of the coronavirus and the economic impact in the wake of the pandemic.
Councilwoman Tasha Green cast the only no vote on the plans to help local residents adversely affected by COVID-19.

The federal program authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will provide $657,944 to fund the implementation of an array of programming to serve the community which must adhere to guidelines issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 
Included in the proposal, approved by members of the Westland City Council May 4, was a provision to use $219,069 of the CDBG-CV funds to establish a grant program for Westland families to assist with rent or mortgage payments for a period of up to six months.  This program aligns with the federal initiative of homelessness prevention and is designed to assist families suffering financial hardships due to income loss as a result of COVID-19, officials said.
The proposal also includes an allocation for the establishment of an employee retention grant program for local small businesses that employ low to moderate income employees in order to promote job retention.  The plan allocates $279,220 for that program. 
In addition, the city will utilize $28,067 for the purchase of personal protection equipment (PPE) to be provided to small enterprises and residents who cannot secure PPE.  This includes masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, no-touch thermometers and protective gowns. 
The remaining allocation will be used to administer the project and to cover any necessary purchases or personnel costs to implement the programs, according to officials.
“I am grateful to the Westland City Council for approving this proposal quickly so we can get to work providing these critical resources to those in need in our community,” commented Mayor William R. Wild.  “Our team will be working diligently to get these programs up and running as quickly as possible.” 
The target date for opening the funding program is June 1.