DHS accepting more applications for COVID-19 emergency solutions grant

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The Arkansas Department of Human Services is offering another opportunity for organizations to apply for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG).

Funds will be awarded to eligible organizations that support Arkansans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Electronic applications will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. August 24.

General purpose, local government, or nonprofit organizations in Arkansas (secular or faith-based) may apply.

Covered services include four different program areas:

  • Street Outreach: to engage those who are homeless and not staying in a shelter or other housing; 
  • Homelessness Prevention: offers rental assistance and other supports for those who are at risk of becoming homeless to allow them to stay in their homes or relocate;
  • Rapid Re-Housing: help finding and paying for housing for those who are homeless and case management during the transition to stability;
  • Emergency Shelter: support for shelter operations along with critical services to shelter residents such as child care, skills training, and transportation assistance.

Organizations that were previously awarded funds during the first application opportunity may apply to offer services in a different program area.

Arkansas was estimated to have more than 2,700 people experiencing homelessness in January 2019, according to a report released by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“Arkansans were experiencing homelessness before the public health emergency, and now we’re seeing individuals who have had their income impacted by COVID-19,” said Mary Franklin, Director of the DHS Division of County Operations (DCO). “We are glad this funding will help Arkansans who have become homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless during this time.”

The State of Arkansas was allocated approximately $23 million under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the need among Arkansans who are homeless or at risk for homelessness due to the coronavirus pandemic. Approximately $13.5 million in funding is still available after the first round of applications.

The DCO Office of Community Services will oversee the distribution of CARES Act funds through its existing ESG program which is designed to prevent homelessness. The grant application and eligibility rules can be found on the DHS website.

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