The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded more than $23.6 million to several Arkansas municipalities — including Pine Bluff — as well as the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC), to help facilitate the coronavirus response.


U.S. Sens. John Boozman and Tom Cotton, along with Congressmen Rick Crawford, French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman, applauded HUD for its actions, according to an April 2 news release.


The grants come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which recently became law with the support of the Arkansas delegation.


The following Arkansas municipalities received HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grants:


Conway - $269,734; Fayetteville - $436,285; Fort Smith - $530,840; Hot Springs - $254,743; Jacksonville - $123,984; Jonesboro - $362,524; Little Rock - $879,049, along with an additional $81,216 from the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program; North Little Rock - $406,388; Pine Bluff - $411,412; Rogers - $270,024; Springdale - $478,318; Texarkana - $165,006; West Memphis - $186,531.


The majority of the funds come from HUD’s CDBG program, which can be used by Arkansas communities to make improvements to public facilities that are necessary to the COVID-19 response, support businesses to increase economic development and provide increased public services during the outbreak, according to the release.


The CARES Act allocated $5 billion to the CDBG program to help communities prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus. This is the first round of CDBG grants released and additional funding will be made available on a rolling basis, according to the release.


“Our communities need help addressing the severe, complex struggles presented by the coronavirus pandemic,” the Arkansas delegation said. “We appreciate how quickly Secretary Ben Carson and his team at HUD have acted to award these grants. These funds are critical to overcoming the challenges our communities are facing.”


In addition to the grants made directly to municipalities, HUD awarded AEDC more than $10.8 million in CDBG funds to distribute, as well as more than $7.8 million from the Emergency Solutions Grant program and $133,620 in HOPWA funding.