OTTAWA COUNTY, MI — Ottawa County is using federal stimulus funds to invest significantly in bringing more child care sites to the county as well as boosting affordable housing options.
The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, Nov. 22 approved a lengthy list of projects that will receive a portion of $57 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
Area that will receive large segments of the pie include $10 million for an affordable housing revolving loan fund.
A Greater Ottawa County United Way pilot program called Housing Next will establish a fund to provide low-interest loans to affordable housing projects.
In the area of child care, $7.5 million is being targeted for the expansion of child care centers and early childhood learning centers.
Funds will go to the Outdoor Discovery Center Network to increase child care capacity in Ottawa County by 1,000 spots over the next three years. The organization is expected to work with the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District and businesses to establish new child care sites at local employers.
County officials say a study and report showed a “crucial need” for more child care in Ottawa County. Michigan League for Public Policy data showed that 1.9 children exist for each available child care slot.
Other areas to receive significant ARPA funds include $1 million for the recruitment and retention of mental health professionals in Ottawa County. The county’s Community Mental Health department will use the funds to hire six to 10 new medical professionals.
Dwelling Place, a non-profit developer, will get $2 million to boost a 46-unit development in downtown Holland to house mostly families earning 40-60 percent of the county median income.
Samaritas, another non-profit, will receive $1.5 million to build a 53-unit development in Spring Lake for low-income families.
Other projects funded with ARPA monies include farmland protection, a crime victim’s assistance fund, improvement to Ottawa Sands Park and the Idema Explorers Trail and a Latin Americans United for Progress workforce development initiatiave.
In all, county commissioners funded 23 different projects with ARPA monies.
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