FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The city of Fayetteville will not be applying for a multi-million dollar federal grant that would help affordable housing and community members and councilmembers share their reactions to the decision.
The proposal failed at the city council meeting on Tuesday after Mayor Lioneld Jordan declined to vote.
Council members voted 4-3 to support applying for the grant. The grant would have provided $1 million to $6.5 million from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to help bring more affordable housing to the area.
Solomon Burchfield is the executive director of the New Beginnings Bridge Housing Community.
“I was just excited to see the opportunity go in front of the city council,” said Burchfield.
He says the affordable housing issue is something that needs to be solved.
“I see the impact of the affordable housing and homelessness crisis every single day, whether it’s people that are living on the edge in housing they can’t afford, or people that lost a job and lost their homes and are sleeping in their car,” said Burchfield.
Scott Berna is a city council member for Ward 3, Position 1, who voted against the resolution. He says after bringing up the proposal to the city staff, they were against it.
“We don’t feel as city staff we can put together a proposal that would be such that would be looked favorably by the federal government,” said Berna.
D’Andre Jones is a city council member in Ward 1, Position 2, who voted for the resolution. He said his vote was an effort to put his community first.
“I feel that is very important that we do whatever we can to alleviate this crisis as much as we can, and I know that there’s no perfect solution. However, we must make progress,” said Jones.
Although both council members voted on separate sides, they both agree something needs to be done about Fayetteville’s housing crisis.
“So do we have a problem? Absolutely. Are we working on it? On a day-to-day basis? Absolutely. Do we have an easy answer for it? No, we don’t. And I don’t think anybody does,” said Berna.
“There’s nothing we can lose from trying. But if we get this grant, if we are awarded this grant, then there’s so much that we can do,” said Jones.