Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the accurate eligibility requirements for potential grant recipients.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — On Monday, March 6 at noon the City of Bentonville is hosting a public input meeting to help craft its plan to tackle homelessness and housing needs for low-to-moderate income families.
After a decade without using a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant program for low-to-moderate-income families, the city now qualifies for around $320,000 a year.
Christopher Hyatt with the city’s planning department said the money will go towards revitalizing low-income areas of the city determined by census data. This could include projects to add sidewalks, parks, and public transportation.
He said the city can also divvy some of the grant money to nonprofits to help kickstart programs helping low-to-moderate income families with housing funds, child care, and homeless shelters.
“So once we have this meeting, we can begin to lay the framework of what we really need to be looking at, and what projects we could potentially tackle,” said Hyatt.
HUD considers low-to-moderate income households as those making 80% or less of the city’s median household income, which in Bentonville would equate to around $70,000 or less per year.
Hyatt said the meeting will help outline which needs are most urgent for those currently living in the city and those moving in each day, especially with developments, such as the new Walmart Home Office.
“We will work to plan for that and hopefully get ahead of as much as we can. It will be a major growth and we’re ready for the challenge,” said Hyatt.
After taking the housing and homelessness concerns discussed at the public input meeting into account, Hyatt said they would lay out a five-year plan and host another public input meeting.
Then once approved by HUD, Hyatt said the city plans to start work on this year’s projects in July.