Richland County to consider how to allocate millions in emergency funds

March 7, 2023

Richland County’s Coronavirus Ad Hoc Committee will hold a public work session as the County winds down its distribution of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.

During the work session, set for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 14 in Council Chambers at the Administration Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia, the committee will discuss how best to appropriate the funds based on compliance and fund availability.

The work session is open to the public and will also stream live on Richland County’s YouTube channel and Facebook page:

In 2022, the County designated $16 million in ARPA funding to help local small businesses, nonprofits and other organizations negatively impacted by the pandemic. When applications for funding closed in October, the County had received 427 applications for requests totaling more than $107 million.

Richland County hired third party vendor Guidehouse (formerly Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC) to assess and score applications for funding distribution based on U.S. Treasury requirements. Businesses and nonprofits that scored 15 out of a possible 25 on a risk assessment of Treasury compliance measures were then evaluated according to the County’s approved scoring rubric.

Based on that rubric, Guidehouse forwarded its recommendations for funding to the County. The County estimates 50 to 60 organizations will be eligible for ARPA funds. County staff will provide to the Coronavirus Ad Hoc Committee each qualifying group’s scores, as well as the application they submitted through ZoomGrants.

No action will be taken at the work session. The committee will forward its recommendations to full Council for approval.

Council previously determined that funding would be distributed based on the following categories:

  • Education assistance – $1 million
  • Home repairs for seniors – $1 million
  • Nonprofits – $1 million
  • Small businesses (501(c) certificate not required) – $1 million
  • Workforce training – $1 million
  • Youth and recreational services – $1 million
  • Addressing food insecurity – $2 million
  • Broadband services in underserved areas – $2 million
  • Services for unhoused people – $2 million
  • Affordable housing – $4 million

Applicants can follow County Council meeting agendas to find out when funding is awarded. Once the process is complete, all applicants will be notified of their application status.

Learn more about ARPA on Richland County’s website: