City of Owensboro officials are quickly disseminating COVID-19 relief funds to landlords and business owners.
On Nov. 16, officials began sending out award letters to those landlords and small business owners that requested aid that was made available through CARES Act funding via the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
To date, the city has sent out $173,331 with $130,831 being awarded to 73 applicants through the rental assistance program and $42,500 for 17 small business applicants. The city received $294,000 in this first round of funding through HUD.
Abby Shelton, Owensboro director of community development, said 42 rental and 23 business applicants have yet to return their award letters to finish out the process.
“Our letters went out to approved applicants and the funding is going out as soon as they return their paperwork,” she said. “We are turning it around as quickly as we can. Any landlord or small business owner that was approved and has not received a letter from me needs to email me.”
For Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson, being able to get the funds out to those that need them is thrilling.
“We are getting this funding out there and we are excited about it,” he said. “I want to especially thank Peter Jackson with HUD in Louisville for walking us through the final preparation for releasing this round of funds. This is especially a big deal for those landlords that continue to have growing expenses and continue to provide low-income housing for our community.”
As the city finishes distributing funds, the next step will be figuring the best use of the next round of funds, Watson said.
“We will be getting together with staff to figure out where we can make the most impact,” he said. “I feel that a bulk will probably go toward continuing rental assistance. One thing that I would like to see happen is figuring out a way to aid restaurants and their staff. I know restaurants are trying to buy large tents so they can stay open and keep people working. We will be putting our heads together in the next couple of weeks to figure out the best path moving forward.”