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United Way of Lancaster County


Commissioners eye ARPA for 14 projects, including homelessness hub

The site of the planned South Prince Street homelessness services hub and, inset, a rendering of the facade it will have after renovation. (Source: OUL file)

The Lancaster County commissioners agreed Wednesday to vote next week on allocating American Rescue Plan Acts to 14 projects from 12 applicants.

The largest amount, $1 million, would go to the Lancaster County Redevelopment Authority for the homelessness services hub it is planning at the former Neighborhood Services building on South Prince Street.

The other projects include infrastructure, stream restoration and a mentoring program for justice-involved youth.

Click to enlarge. (Source: Lancaster County)

If all 14 projects receive their full requested amount, it would total just under $3.85 million, or more than 60% of the roughly $6 million in ARPA the commissioners have earmarked for their second round of community grants.

Homelessness services

While the commissioners put ARPA toward several housing projects in Round 1, the South Prince Hub would be the first to directly target homelessness itself, Commissioner Ray D’Agostino.

Providing a full range of services at a single site is considered a best practice and is something the county has discussed for many years, he said.

The construction budget for the South Prince Street hub is $5.2 million. Adding in site acquisition and professional fees brings the total to $7.2 million. The authority says it has $6.2 million of that total either committed or pending, so the county’s $1 million would be the “last-in” component.

The redevelopment authority has said it hopes to open the hub by the end of 2024. That has not been finalized, however; Deb Jones, director of Human Services, said Thursday that authority is in the process of getting an updated timeline from its construction team.

Lancaster city has also put ARPA funding toward the project. It is contributing $800,000, part of a total commitment of $1.6 million toward homelessness services. The other $800,000 is going toward 40 beds of emergency shelter capacity through Spring 2026.

Other projects

The commissioners selected the 14 projects on Wednesday from a list of 29 that were deemed eligible following a review by the county’s ARPA committee last year. The committee had received more than 70 applications in all, and all were evaluated against the U.S. Treasury’s mandatory guidelines and the county’s own ARPA guidelines and priorities.

For more information

To view the applications submitted for Lancaster County’s second round of ARPA community grants, click here.

On Wednesday, Commissioner Josh Parsons went through the list with his colleagues, category by category, discussing the applications and looking for ones on which they agreed.

All three commissioners signaled support for projects submitted by the Cleft Palate Clinic, Bench Mark Program, and five infrastructure projects deemed “Tier 1” priorities by the Lancaster County Planning Department. Parsons and D’Agostino agreed to add four “Tier 2” projects — from East Petersburg, the Quarryville Authority and two from Denver — as well.

In the Conservation/Preservation category, they agreed on two small clean water projects, in Millersville and Sadsbury Township. Four entities in that category had submitted requests totaling $6.2 million: Lancaster Conservancy, Lancaster Clean Water Partners, Lancaster Farmland Trust and the Blue-Green Corridor Project. They all do great work, the commissioners agreed, but they received ARPA before and are seeking a lot: Deputy Chief Clerk Amy Campbell agreed to follow up with them to see if they would be willing to scale back.

Along the same lines, they signaled support for Tenfold’s TLC housing project ($1 million sought) and Union Community Care’s HVAC project in New Holland ($250,000), but decided to hold off for now.

Remaining ARPA

As of this week, the county has $20.37 million in ARPA left from its $106 million allocation, according to its online spreadsheet.

Of that, $10.75 million is earmarked for county use, officials said, as follows:

  • $10 million: ARPA-eligible salaries and revenue replacement
  • $500,000: County website redesign
  • $200,000: Update to the county Parks & Open Space plan
  • $53,624: IT Upgrades

Those allocations, plus the $6 million being put toward community grants, will leave a reserve balance of $3.62 million. That is to be allocated by the end of 2024, or it will return to the U.S. Treasury.