GREENE COUNTY, Mo. – Greene County released 12 priority needs that would be backed by American Rescue Plan Act Funding. 

“The needs assessment has probably been a 3-month document in terms of the planning and preparation part of it,” Community and Equity Consultant for the ARPA Program Dr. Lyle Foster said. “One of the major pieces was doing a community survey.”

The 12 needs are based on responses from a community survey. The survey asked community members what issues they felt the county needed to address. 

“We also looked at a number of community-based reports as well as the census data,” Foster said.

12 Priority Needs:

  1. Mental Health Services
  2. Affordable Housing 
  3. Services for Unhoused Persons
  4. Small Business Economic Assistance
  5. Assistance to Nonprofit Organizations
  6. Household Food Programs
  7. Broadband
  8. Childcare and Services to Foster Youth
  9. Water and Sewer
  10. Substance Use Services
  11. Aid to Tourism, Travel and Hospitality industry
  12. Education Assistance to Early Learning.

Although these categories did not come as a shock to Foster, he said many people may not have realized they could have been on the list.

“Broadband, water, and sewer show up in our top priority needs,” Foster said. “If you live in the city or one of our suburbs, you don’t necessarily think about people not being able to get good broadband service. There were a lot of people advocating for issues for the unsheltered. A lot of people talked about recreational which was soccer fields, trails, people really appreciate recreational opportunities.”

Small businesses and non-profits can apply for the funds, but they have to meet certain criteria.

“A small business should not be in bankruptcy,” Foster said. “They should not be in any kind of pending lawsuits. We want to make sure they are in compliance with legal requirements. For a non-profit organization, making sure we actually know what needs they’re serving. They need to be located and serving in Greene County. We’ll be looking for evidence of a board of directors oversight in terms of a non-profit and most importantly, what community needs you’re responding too.”

So far, the county has received $28.4 million in funds. It will receive the remainder of the funds next year. The ARPA Funds will be dished out over a three-year period. 

“We’ve received close to 30 letters of interest requesting over 80 million dollars,” Foster said. “We’re going to be having two separate applications, one for the non-profit community and one for small businesses. We’re hoping to announce very soon applications are open and apply.”