FARMINGTON — Residents who attended Farmington's community needs assessment meetings last week ranked homelessness as the city's largest issue that should be addressed with federal grants.
"And there's a big concern regarding the substance abusing population in that group," Community Development Director Mary Holton said.
The two Thursday meetings were the first public workshops the city had this year to help update a plan that guides how the city should use federal Community Development Block Grants. The plan is called the consolidated plan and is updated every five years.
Less than 20 people attended the Thursday meetings and reviewed the findings from a survey the city sent to area residents polling them about the city's priorities. The meeting attendees ranked those results in order of importance. Homelessness was the top-ranking need for the grant funding.
About 340 people responded to the survey, ranking as the city's top three priorities for block grant funding homeless veterans, homeless families with children, and homeless domestic violence victims, according to the study's results.
Farmington is entitled to Community Development Block Grant funding every year, and those funds are reserved for housing, low- and moderate-income families, economic development, community services, and community buildings, Senior Planner Cindy Lopez said.
The city in 2013 received $400,902 in block grant funds, according to city documents. Holton said the city each year receives about $350,000.
Of the 2013 grant, $155,000 was planned for the construction of the People Assisting the Homeless building, $77,800 for Masada House's men's shelter and nearly $27,800 for a Big Brothers Big Sisters office building, according to city documents.
City council is scheduled to vote on the plan in an Aug. 12 meeting. Holton said, and the city will continue accepting public input on the plan until it's approved by council.