Montgomery County Community Development was notified it had received $2.41 million in Round 1 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding in April, according to Community Development Director Joanne Ducharme. She said at the time the funding would help 935 households to avoid eviction and homelessness.
At the June 30 meeting, the court approved a resolution to expand applications for the county's rental and mortgage assistance program until Sept. 15 and allow several designated nonprofits to make direct payments to mortgagors and landlords with CARES ACT funds for homelessness prevention.
Commissioners also approved Round 2 of Emergency Solutions Grant funds for the homeless. The funds will be used to repurpose a building for use as a homeless family shelter and will isolate homeless families to avoid contagion during the coronavirus outbreak, Ducharme said.
The Montgomery County-based nonprofit Family Promise will oversee the program, Ducharme said. The nonprofit has previously worked to provide shelter at churches to help stabilize homeless families, but since many churches have been closed during the pandemic, the organization has been paying for motels, Executive Director Marilyn Kasmiersky said at the meeting.
Ducharme said the county will use Community Development Block Grant program funds to purchase a building in Conroe, and it will use Emergency Solutions Grant funds to repurpose the building as a shelter. The amount of funding that will be used for redeveloping the building was not discussed at the meeting.
The building, located at 109 Commercial Circle, Conroe, is 6,000 square feet, and the negotiated price is $495,000, according to Kasmiersky.
The building could initially help six families, she said. The organization has helped 12 families so far this year and hopes to assist a total of 25 annually, she said.
Since the building can not be acquired until October because of the use of CDBG funds, Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador said he would like to look into how another approach, such as leasing, could be employed to expedite the program.
“I think this is really important. ... This is a godsend. I’d love to see some way we can do it before October,” Meador said.
Commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the plan to acquire the building.
County Judge Mark Keough suggested leasing the building until it can be acquired so that no time will be lost before it can be used.