Council committee recommends funding to address disparities

Support administered through
Strategic Partnership Funds
and Community Development Block Grants


Closing the achievement gap to help minority and economically disadvantaged high school students gain academic footing. Opening housing opportunities, especially with emergency funds for rehousing to prevent homelessness. Supporting HelpMate domestic violence shelter so families in need have a safety net and resources to get away from abusive situations.


Asheville City Council’s Housing and Community Development Committee recommended funding for these efforts, supporting Council values and vision for this community. At its March 24 meeting, the committee reviewed applications from two categories: Strategic Partnership Funds and Community Development Block Grants. Council members Gordon Smith, Gwen Wisler and Julie Mayfield serve on this committee, with Smith as the committee chairman.


Strategic Partnership Funds are locally paid for out of the City’s general fund. The City administers Community Development Block Grants through federal funds.


The committee reviewed funding requests from seven organizations aimed at supporting Asheville City Schools and programs that work to close the achievement gap. The City funded six such programs in the 2016-17 Strategic Partnership Fund budget to the tune of $57,500. The 2017-18 recommended allocations would expand that to eight programs at a cost of $77,000. Applicants include One Youth at a Time In-school and After-school Initiatives as well as a Positive Influences program by Positive Changes Youth Ministries.


“The overall notable is that these funds continue Council’s focus around low-income and minority households, affordable housing and public services, such as to HelpMate domestic violence shelter,” said Heather Dillashaw, City Community Development Manager. “Strategic Partnership Funding goes to organizations that mirror Council priorities, addressing disparities.”


Those priorities include improving food security and the availability of healthy foods in food deserts. Bountiful Cities, which runs a network of community gardens, has been a Strategic Partner funded by the City toward that end.


Money for homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing remains a funding priority, along with money to the Asheville Housing Authority for the Lee Walker Heights redevelopment.


Below are two charts, outlining the two funding categories City Council will consider as it adopts the 2017-18 budget. Prior to budget adoption, both will go before Council.

Community Development Block Grants are required by law to have a public hearing, said Dillashaw. That is set for the May 9 Council meeting. As of now, the Strategic Partnership Funds will be on the April 11 Council agenda.

The City’s 2017-18 Strategic Partnership Funds budget is $158,400. The Community Development Block Grants awards budget is estimated to be $1.25 million.


Breakdown on these two funding sources