It’s been almost three years after the Biden administration’s landmark Rescue Plan stimulus package was passed, and local municipalities are still using the funds to make improvements in their communities.
In Lake Havasu City, the city council voted earlier this year to award $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to 11 non-profits—three of which are faith-based organizations—who pitched the city on plans ranging from expanded mental health care services to providing essential resources and services to financially struggling residents.
The nonprofits have been busy since funding was awarded nine months ago, as first reported by Today’s News-Herald reporter Taylor Schwartz-Olson. No organization received the full amount requested; grant amounts were decided based on the organization’s ability to address a problem resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as “a solid business plan for success,” according to city documents.
Amount Requested: $315,000
Amount Awarded: $141,000
Impact 928 launched in 2021, and aims to help families in Lake Havasu City and the surrounding area with a variety of offerings, mainly relating to foster children and parents.
The nonprofit offers mentoring and tutoring for children, and provides transportation and home repairs to parents as a way to ensure their living space meets foster home requirements. Impact 928 describes itself as a faith-based organization, and shares an address with the Calvary Baptist Church of Lake Havasu City.
Impact 928 and Calvary confirmed that, while Impact 928 is run by a member of their congregation and does use the same mailing address, the two are completely separate and independent entities, and the church has no involvement with Impact 928’s outreach programs.
Mentally Ill Kids in Distress
Amount Requested: $217,898
Amount Awarded: $130,168
A number of family and youth behavioral health services are available to Mohave County residents through Mentally Ill Kids in Distress (MIKID), a nonprofit that accepts all healthcare plans offered through Arizona’s Medicaid Agency, AHCCCS. Because of this, low-income families are able to take advantage of behavioral healthcare that might not otherwise be attainable due to the high financial cost of care.
The ARPA grant has allowed MIKID to expand their offerings considerably. Funds have been used to certify additional trainers throughout the county as a way to meet the demands of the community.
HAVEN Family Resource Center
Amount Requested: $50,000
Amount Awarded: $40,000
While many grant recipients stated they would use funding for organizational upgrades such facility improvements or administrative costs, the Havasu Abuse Victims Education Network (HAVEN) Family Resource Center promised to only use their ARPA funding for one purpose: Food 4 Kidz.
The Food 4 Kidz program is a resource for at-risk youth and minors experiencing homelessness. While it offers school supplies and hygiene kits, HAVEN committed the entire $40,000 grant for its nutrition program, where free meals are provided to students who receive free and reduced school lunches as a way to ensure they eat on weekends and non-school days.
Faith and Grace Inc.
Amount Requested: $196,600
Amount Awarded: $157,280
Faith and Grace currently operates emergency and transitional housing and shelters for women and children experiencing domestic violence.
Through their grant, the organization is updating its computer infrastructure, purchasing additional vehicles to transport those staying in the shelter to various services, and expanding its staff to include a program director and three part-time employees.
Child & Family Resources, Inc.
Amount Requested: $288,864
Amount Awarded: $40,239
The Tucson-based organization opened its Lake Havasu Branch in 2018, and mainly works with families on topics ranging from household needs to childcare support. With the ARPA funding, Child & Family Resources has been able to offer residents household items such as food and hygienic necessities, as well as transportation support in the form of travel vouchers and gas cards.
The Clothes Closet
Amount Requested: $160,000
Amount Awarded: $128,000
The Clothes Closet, which is coming up on its 10-year anniversary in 2024, asked the city for a grant to expand its current offerings: free clothing, food, haircuts, and other hygienic necessities for all community members. The organization also wanted to invest in additional showers, washers, and dryers for the facility.
Covenant Church Lake Havasu
Amount Requested: $49,800
Amount Awarded: $39,216
Covenant Church Lake Havasu received nearly $40,000 in federal funds to supplement its efforts in offering substance abuse treatment programs, and outreach to the city’s unhoused population—which is roughly 11 people at any given time, according to 2023 data from Mohave County.
The church also noted its grant would be used to provide household resources for foster families—but with its anti-LGBTQ theology that marriage should be restricted to “a man (male DNA) and a woman(female DNA),” it’s unclear whether or not these resources would be available to all foster households.
Covenant Church Lake Havasu did not return a request for comment prior to publication.
Grace Episcopal Church
Amount Requested: $90,300
Amount Awarded: $72,240
Grace’s Place Community Center is a community space managed by the Grace Episcopal Church. The facility offers a wide range of social services—free of charge—including food, hygiene, transportation, and utility assistance; social groups and affordable housing accommodations for the elderly; employment search support; and group activities for students.
The church’s grant through the ARPA has allowed them to hire additional staff to manage Grace’s Place, as well as make infrastructure upgrades to modernize and improve the facility.
River Cities United Way
Amount Requested: $250,000
Amount Received: $161,856
Dozens of nonprofits, businesses, churches, and government entities work to improve the lives of Lake Havasu residents. River Cities United Way’s goal is to help them work together more efficiently, and their grant proposal offered a way to do just that.
River Cities United Way proposed to use its grant funds for the creation of a collaborative, countywide database to gather statistics on what services are most utilized by the organization’s clients. Their clients could then use this database to easily connect with needed resources, and see where their paid services overlap to reduce redundancies and overall costs.
The organization also planned to hire additional staff to collect, track, and provide resources and case management to residents in need of assistance.
Women With Willpower
Amount Requested: $50,000
Amount Awarded: $40,000
Women with Willpower is a nonprofit that provides financial assistance to women in Lake Havasu City when the organization deems that “all other resources have been exhausted.” Those who receive aid from Women With Willpower are also asked to pay it forward by offering a helping hand to a woman in need when they have the ability to do so.
Grant funds have been given directly to women in need—not administrative costs or organizational upgrades. Women With Willpower estimates they will be able to help an additional 12 women thanks for ARPA funding.
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