ARPA funds projects in five broad categories, including addressing public and private economic impacts, public health expenses and investment in broadband and water infrastructure. However, the legislation also directly established $5 billion for the federal HOME Initiative Partnerships Program to create housing and services for those at risk of homelessness.
The nonprofits could receive and administer ARPA funds directly, or the money could spur housing initiatives through local or state governments. Greene County has not yet decided how it will spend all of its $33 million in ARPA money, but there are other examples at the county level of how this money could address homelessness.
Hamilton County is investing $20 million in recovery funds to construct multi- and single-family affordable housing units, another $10 million to update 60,000 affordable housing units, and $5 million for homelessness prevention through “wraparound” social services.
Prevention, nonprofit leaders say, is key. If a person does fall into homelessness, it can be hard to get back out.
“When you’re living in poverty culture, you’re living for today,” said Will Urschel, Xenia city councilman and vice president of homeless shelter Bridges of Hope. “It’s hard for people to work through the system on their own.”