City distributing funds to small businesses, households and nonprofits
BY CLAIRE PANAK TOMBES
The City of Hyattsville received $17.9 million from America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and has allocated $3.7 million so far for the city’s relief programs for small businesses, households, nonprofits and child care providers. Under program rules, the city can use up to $10 million as revenue replacement for normal city operations, and any money not contractually obligated by the end of 2024 is forfeited.
Small businesses and households must be in the City of Hyattsville to be eligible, while general nonprofits must primarily serve the city. All three types of applicants must demonstrate financial harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no restrictions on how grant funds can be used once awarded. Nonprofit food assistance and child care provider grantees do not have to demonstrate harm but must use the funds to benefit Hyattsville residents.
The Household Emergency Relief Program, which provides grants of up to $5,000 per eligible household, is being administered by the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation; the program received 280 geographically eligible applications as of early December, for an estimated total of $1.2 million according to the city’s ARPA program manager, Patrick Paschall. The city council initially allocated $1 million for the program, and Paschall said in an interview that he anticipates recommending an additional allocation in the coming months.
Like the household relief program, the Small Business Emergency Relief Program has received numerous applications. According to Krissi Humbard, Small Business Recovery coordinator, it has awarded 60 grants totaling $825,400. The grantees have been concentrated in the city’s main commercial areas: the Arts District along Route 1, the Mall at Prince George’s area and the Queens Chapel Town Center area. About 50% of the grant money awarded so far has gone to businesses in the Arts District, according to a map of awards provided by the city.
In contrast to the high demand for the household and small business programs, the city’s nonprofit, food assistance and child care relief programs have received relatively few applications.
The city council approved $900,000 for general nonprofit relief, along with $200,000 for nonprofit food assistance programs and $100,000 to child care programs serving Hyattsville residents. As of the Dec. 5 council meeting, the city had awarded 14% of the general nonprofit funds to five Hyattsville nonprofits, with Art Works Now and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center both receiving the maximum award of $25,000. An additional three are under review, including Streetcar Suburbs Publishing, which puts out the Hyattsville Life & Times. The city also awarded $25,000 to Greater Riverdale Cares and $20,000 to St. Mark’s Food Pantry from the food assistance program fund, according to Paschall.
The city has received only two applications for the Childcare Assistance Fund, which reimburses child care providers up to $25,000 for eligible cost per the city’s website. According to the state database of child care providers, the city has 18 licensed child care providers, including nine child care centers and six family child care homes, which together have 662 licensed spots for children below kindergarten age. Nationwide, the child care sector has lost approximately 10% of its pre-pandemic workforce, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Additional federal data indicates that approximately 37% of children under the age of 5 receive care through a child care center.
Paschall said that he anticipates presenting a program update at the Dec. 19 city council meeting, including allocation adjustments for existing programs in January. The city will solicit the next round of public input on ARPA fund spending through its Hello Hyattsville platform, hellohyattsville.com.