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Moundsville Applying for COVID Response Assistance

Photo by Alan Olson – A.C. Wiethe, representing Belomar Regional Council, addresses Moundsville City Council online Tuesday evening.

MOUNDSVILLE — Dozens of Moundsville families may receive assistance in making payments toward home ownership.

During a meeting held online Tuesday night, council members heard from A.C. Wiethe, a director with Belomar Regional Council, who briefed them on the Community Development Block Grant fund, made available through the U.S. Department of Housing. Moundsville can apply for a maximum of $250,000 to provide a minimum of 33 households that struggle to make payments such as rent, mortgage, utility and other delinquent payments.

Wiethe said the city could assist with up to six months of those payments, but that it was rare for households to use all the funds available.

“It’s to prevent homelessness,” he said. “They would have to certify and document an economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. … Those can be anything from loss of hours on their job, or loss of a job, but also can be allowable that, due to hardship, they had to conserve their money and didn’t pay some bills because of loss of income, to have food and take care of the family.”

“… You could project to do, at minimum, 33, but oftentimes people are only (behind) a few months, so you may end up helping 50 or 60 households, if there’d be that many that qualify,” he later added, addressing a question from Councilman Phil Remke about how many people could be helped through the grant.

The families would need to meet low-income guidelines, involving a gross household income of 80 percent or less of the area median income. The city would provide a maximum of $7,200 over the six-month period, paid directly to the vendor on behalf of the individuals. Weithe said the program allows each state one year to allocate the funds, and the money would be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis until it is exhausted.

Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing City Manager Rick Healy to apply for the block grant and represent the city on the matter. The deadline to do so is 5 p.m. Oct. 30.

“I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for our citizens,” Mayor David Wood said.

In other matters, council moved the date of the next meeting to 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2, to account for Election Day on Nov. 3.

Council member Gene Saunders joined the meeting shortly into the call, and was able to connect his voice toward the end to join in voting. Sixteen members of the public were in attendance via the internet.

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