Greene County getting closer to distributing CARES Act funds, local organization hopeful for fund approval

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s been almost five months since the passage of the CARES act, and many are saying Greene County is slow to distribute the money it received, compared to nearby counties.

Greene County received a total of $34.4 million. Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon says the hiring process for a professional grants administrator, creating the 30-member community advisory board, and creating the online application took some time.

Dixon says the approval process is tedious, but they want to make sure it is done right. Right now, the advisory board is still going through the approval process.

“Yes, there have been rumblings of us sitting on the money. We don’t want to have that money. We want it in the community, but we have to follow the government, U.S. Treasury, governmental guidelines,” says Dixon.

Dixon mentions the interest made on that money will be distributed in grants. You can also find a building a CARES Act transparency portal on Greene County’s website. The portal shows how much has been received in applications as well as available funds.

One organization hoping to get approval for CARES Act funding is Community Partnership of the Ozarks. The organization wants the money to help its Merciful Nights program.

Merciful Nights offers shelter in hotels and motels to protect more than 300 households unsheltered or hyper-vulnerable during the pandemic. The program was thought to be near its end in June, but COVID-19 cases spiked after stay-at-home orders were lifted.

United Way of the Ozarks allocated $22,000 to help keep the Merciful Nights program up and running, something Michelle Garand, Vice President of Affordable Housing and Homeless Prevention with CPO says she’s so grateful for.

“Timing has been very tricking. So we had enough funding to get through June, and that’s when we felt like the CARES act funding would, you know, perhaps be in hand. So we’re hoping to hear something very quickly from Greene County to see if we can qualify and if we’re eligible and receive those funds,” says Garand.

Garand says the money from United Way will only last two weeks, so they’re hoping funds will be distributed soon.

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