Michael allen photo

City of McAlester Grants Administrator Michael Allen, right, tells city councilors during their March 14 meeting the Oklahoma Department of Commerce has requested the city to continue its CDBG-CV program.

Extension of a program to help McAlester residents who have fallen behind on utility, rent or mortgage payments due to COVID-19 is almost ready to get back on track.

It will be administered by KI BOIS Community Action Foundation on behalf of the city of McAlester.

The Oklahoma State Department of Commerce requested in March that the city continue the Community Development COVID Block Grant.

At the McAlester City Council’s March 14 meeting, city of McAlester Grants Administrator Michael Allen told city councilors the Oklahoma Department of Commerce’s Community Development Division had contacted the city.

The Department of Commerce asked the city to continue the CDBG-CV program to help expend some remaining funds.

City councilors agreed to continue the program. It will be for approximately $100,000 and extends to July 31, 2023.

Since the council passed the March 14 measure, contracts had to be returned to ODOC; the money for the had to be made available for McAlester and logistics of handling the program had to be reinstated by KI BOIS.

Samantha Robertson, who will handle the program for KI BOIS, said Thursday “We’re not taking applications at this time.”

She said there is another step before the program proceeds. It’s expected to begin relatively soon.

KI BOIS Community Action Foundation Director of Planning and Development Linda Love previously said when the program begins, the number to phone to start the application process is 918-426-1355.

Plans call for no change in the scope of the program. It’s to continue to assist McAlester residents in paying for their utilities, rent or mortgages if they have fallen behind due to COVID-19.

The initial phase of the program had been successfully completed about a year ago, according to city documents.

Administrative fees totaling $5,772 remaining from the previous program period can be assigned to the extension.

In addition to the city’s water and sewer utilities, other utilities, including electricity and gas, also can be covered for qualifying applicants.

Those applying must be McAlester residents who have fallen at least a day behind on a utility, rent or mortgage payment due to COVID-19, according to KI BOIS. Applicants must also be able to document that COVID-19 was the reason for getting behind on the payments.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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