Tuesday evening, the Meridian City Council awarded American Rescue Plan Act funds to Jesse Tree to handle the Emergency Housing Assistance Grant Program.
Across a couple of budget hearings earlier in the summer, council members discussed how affordable housing can or should be funded. With a bit of disagreement from council and questions surrounding what the city’s role is, the city sent out a request for proposal to hear from housing programs across the valley to see how they would use $250,000 in ARPA funding.
The city got responses from Jesse Tree, an eviction prevention nonprofit, and the Ada County Housing Authority. A scoring committee comprised of staff from community development, finance, economic development, and the mayor’s office reviewed the applications and ultimately award the money to Jesse Tree.
“While the Committee felt that both organizations were qualified and capable of managing the project, it was determined that Jesse Tree had the best application and targeted approach to address emergency housing assistance in Meridian,” Chief of staff Dave Miles wrote in a memo. “They highlighted an emphasis on utilization of funds, speed to deploy services, and ability to serve a greater number of potential households.”
The leading reason to award Jesse Tree was that the group had said they would use all the funding for “direct rental assistance.” The Ada County Housing Authority said $220,000 would be used for rental assistance and $20,000 would go to personal and the remaining $10,000 would go to administrative costs. Jesse Tree was also ready to immediately start using the funding.
The city lists an anticipated timeline of ARPA funds use that has Jesse Tree implementing the Emergency Housing Assistance Program on October 12.