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Hillsborough Awarded $600,000 for Emergency Housing Assistance

Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021

The Town of Hillsborough has been awarded $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus Program funds for emergency housing assistance.

The funds will allow the town to continue to respond effectively, through a partnership with Orange County, to prevent homelessness among Hillsborough families.

“The impact these funds will have for Hillsborough residents cannot be underestimated,” Hillsborough Mayor Jenn Weaver said. “The economic impact of the pandemic on housing needs in our community has been profound. These funds will make a real difference in the lives of individuals and families in our community.” 

In support of public health and economic recovery goals outlined by N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, the Rural Economic Development Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce announced in August that new funding would be available through a competitive application process. The Community Development Block Grant-Coronavirus Program was created to help local governments and communities prevent, respond to and prepare for the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. Grants from the program support the needs of low- and moderate-income residents. 

Hillsborough coordinated its application with Carrboro and Orange County, though each applied separately and received the separate award it applied for. Orange County received $900,00 for unincorporated areas of the county, and Carrboro received $900,000 as well. Chapel Hill was not eligible to apply because it receives housing funds directly from the federal government without the state acting as an intermediary.

Orange County will handle distribution of all funds, and up to 10% of the funds are available to be applied toward costs for this, such as hiring staff. The local governments have up to 30 months to spend the money, allowing them to provide longer-term support.

CARES Act funding

The town previously had allocated $63,943.31 to be distributed by Orange County for housing assistance. This money came from the town’s $166,421.02 in federal CARES Act funds. Orange County used the funding to assist 36 households with an average of three people per household.

“Deciding how to spend the CARES Act funding was an easy choice for our board,” Mayor Weaver said. “Due to the pandemic, we knew there was urgent and increased need in our community for some of the basics — housing, food, and utilities assistance. We are grateful for the existing groups and organizations we could partner with to distribute these funds to those most in need.”

Other CARES Act funds were spent as follows:

  • Utility assistance:
    • $43,414.18 to Orange Congregations in Mission. OCIM used the funding to assist 245 households with an average of three people per household.
  • Food assistance:
    • $7,645.69 to El Centro Hispano. The funds were used to assist 69 households with an average of five people per household.
    • $7,645.69 to Fairview Community Watch. The funds were used to assist 246 households with an average of three people per household.
    • $18,726.15 to OCIM. OCIM used the funding to assist 92 households with an average of two people per household.
    • $18,726.15 to PORCH Hillsborough. PORCH used the funding to assist 283 households with an average of four people per household.
    • $980 to Piedmont Food Processing Center to provide refrigeration services for PORCH Hillsborough.
  • Recovery consultant:
    • $5,339.85 to Orange County to assist in covering the cost of a recovery consultant.