$161 million will fund housing projects and community centers in Montco

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA – The county plans to pour more than $32 million of U.S. federal funds under the U.S. Bailout Act into housing projects, and another $28 million into community services around of Montgomery County.

The Board of Commissioners approved a final stimulus plan outlining how the county will spend $161.4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Most of the money will go to government services and infrastructure, the plan says.

Click here to read the full plan, which the county finalized on Aug. 18. It includes funding for 122 projects across the county, with the bulk earmarked for government and infrastructure projects.

Some major projects include a $7 million community center for Norristown residents, a $2.65 million small business capital grant program, a $5 million child and adolescent behavioral health program and another $5 million behavioral health crisis response service expansion.

The funding breakdown is as follows, the county said:

  • Government services and infrastructure: $33.7 million (21% of funding)
  • Housing: $32.4 million (20%)
  • Community services and facilities: $28 million (17%)
  • Behavioral health: $18.1 million (11%)
  • Economic development and workforce development: $14.4 million (9%)
  • Public health and safety: $11.9 million (8%)
  • Child care services: $9.6 million (6%)
  • Food security: $8.4 million (5%)
  • Community and non-profit support: $2.5 million (2%)

Government services and infrastructure

Pottstown is looking to replace existing lead service lines in the borough. $2.27 million is planned to support part of the work in the northern part of the borough.

These funds will also allow the Wissahickon Watershed to fund a water quality program to improve stormwater management for residents of the watershed service area; this includes the Township of Abington, the Borough of North Wales and the Township of Upper Gwynedd.

There is also $10 million to replace revenue the county lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, $6.25 million to support county government employee recruitment and retention initiatives and 8 $.1 million in premiums for county essential workers on payroll during COVID-19.

The county said roles receiving a premium include public health and public safety personnel, coroner’s staff and correctional officers.

“County employees eligible for this program will receive an additional hourly rate for hours actually worked, not to exceed a total amount of $25,000,” the county said.

Lodging

The county will purchase and renovate a new facility in Lower Providence to support homeless adults in Montgomery County after the Coordinated Homeless Outreach Center closes, the plan says. This short-term housing project is expected to cost $5.5 million.

An additional $5.5 million is set aside to purchase and renovate vacant properties into affordable housing around Montco; in addition to this, the county set aside $5 million for “the preservation, expansion, and transformation of public housing inventory across (the county) to support affordable housing efforts for people, including the elderly, the disabled, veterans, victims of domestic violence and families.”

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A $4 million investment will expand the county’s eviction prevention and response coalition, and $3 million is earmarked to expand senior housing at Ardmore House in Lower Merion Township.

Bridging the GAP, which serves the township of Upper Moreland, Hatboro and Horsham, will receive $1.88 million to purchase four additional affordable units and help first-time home buyers.

A year-round emergency transitional shelter is planned in Pottstown at a cost of $1.3 million. This will also include “coordination of inpatient and outpatient drug and alcohol addiction locations and admissions, employment readiness programs, faith counseling and behavioral counseling.”

More than 400 applicants sent project submissions to the county and another 150 people sent idea submissions, the county said.

Community services and facilities

The county said residents of Norristown have “constantly and repeatedly” asked authorities to invest in community services and recreation, and so have earmarked $7 million for the community facility.

“Staff will work directly with the Norristown community to coordinate the planning, design and implementation of a shared project that meets the needs expressed by the community,” the county said, adding that it “will not have no continuing role in the operation of any program or facility”. and plays a facilitation and project planning role for these initial phases only.

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Funds are also planned to finance the construction of an Asian-American community center and a wellness center estimated at $5.25 million; $4.27 million for ACLAMO Family Centers, which serve Latin American residents; and $2.25 million to build a South Asian cultural and learning center in Montgomeryville.

The funds will also be used to renovate the George Washington Carver Community Center in Norristown and renovate a historic church in the North Wales Borough.

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