St. Cloud council debates law fund allocations

(KNSI) – The public hearing on how to allocate funds from the community development block grant was the main focus of the Saint Cloud city council meeting on Monday. Director of Community Development Matt Glaesman says it’s difficult to select deserving organizations each year. The staff had managed to narrow down the interested organizations to five.

Glaesman says there is more uncertainty than normal because the federal government has yet to announce the amount of fee funding the city will receive.

“This year, we are in a unique situation in that we do not know the amount to which we are entitled. HUD [Housing and Urban Development] asked that we make a contingency plan so that we can act tonight. With the understanding that in the coming weeks and months we will actually find out what that amount is, so we should allow for a discrepancy in that number.

One of the organizations questioned by members of the public and some elected officials is Homeless Helping Homeless. The group operates out of Lincoln Center in East Saint Cloud. They had asked for help installing a sprinkler system, which would allow them to expand their business. Glaesman says the organization’s plans will be scaled back without it, but not entirely abandoned.

“If we don’t have funding for them. If they can’t reach the — after a year of trying to find funding, they go back to what the conditional use license says. They must have 10 people, maximum occupancy.

The future of the property is also uncertain. The current owner is subject to a lump sum payment, totaling tens of thousands of dollars. If the building reverts to the original owner, it’s unclear whether he would still license Homeless Helping Homeless to operate out of Lincoln Center. Glaesman says until the city knows more, she can’t recommend allocating funds to it when other, more viable options exist.

The St. Cloud Housing and Redevelopment Authority is set to receive $216,000 to rehabilitate single-family residences. Place of Hope is expected to receive $112,500 for electrical repairs. Other organizations assigned to the funds include Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, St. Cloud Parks Department and Tri-CAP. The measure was approved by the council, 5-2.

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James V. Hayes