By Mayor Colin Byrd, Greenbelt, MD
(GREENBELT – September 15, 2021) – I am humbled and grateful to let you know that, last night, the city council unanimously voted in favor of my motion to approve $1.6 million in spending of funds that we have received under the American Rescue Plan.
Over the next four months, this spending plan — prepared by city staff in concert with the city council and modeled largely after an outline I presented to the city council last month — provides $500,000 in mortgage and HOA fee assistance for Greenbelt homeowners, $500,000 in rental assistance to Greenbelt renters, $500,000 in assistance to Greenbelt small businesses, $100,000 in assistance to nonprofits serving Greenbelt as well as funding for 2 contract employees to work with Greenbelt CARES and Greenbelt’s Economic Development department in reviewing related applications as part of the implementation of this plan.
I also secured the consensus of the city council that, with respect to the assistance to businesses and nonprofits, several factors should be prioritized. For example, it is important that staff strongly consider prioritizing businesses where a larger percentage of their workforce is from Greenbelt and that staff give weight to nonprofits that do work to address food security, health (including mental health), and community safety. And staff should make sure that, unlike what happened with federal and state aid programs, women and minority-owned businesses are not left out in the cold.
While this plan is just the beginning, I am excited about the fact that this plan will help many Greenbelt residents avoid losing their homes, avoid financial ruin, and avoid losing their businesses, and it will help meet community needs that are both urgent and emergent.
I know that, for many Greenbelt residents, these are tough times, but help is on the way.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.
If you have any feedback, concerns, or questions regarding this or any other matter, you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.