Both Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston want to do what they can to prevent evictions and fight homelessness in the area.
But, last week, they were at odds with each other after what Alston is calling a “misunderstanding.” Things are copacetic now between the mayor and the chairman.
Alston, at a Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, Jan. 6, launched into a rant in which he said it appears that the City of Greensboro doesn’t care about fighting evictions because the city had not accessed $10 million in federal funds that Guilford County government had for the city to prevent evictions.
Guilford County received the money from a COVID-19 federal relief package and gave the city $2 million up front to work with its community partners on the issue. There’s an additional $8 million that the county has for the city that will be used to reimburse the City of Greensboro once it spends the money.
Alston’s tirade came after the Greensboro City Council did not discuss or pass a city budget amendment at its Tuesday, Jan. 4 meeting. County officials expected the council to pass the amendment, and, when it didn’t happen, county officials presumed the city was dropping the ball.
“We’ve worked it out now,” said Alston, who added that he’s just happy the relief money is getting into the hands of those who need it.
Alston said that he and county staff were surprised when the city council did not adopt a budget amended at the Jan. 4 meeting to make way for the acceptance of the federal relief money.
Vaughan told the Rhino Times after Alston’s public tirade that city officials were using the money and had made arrangements to access the funds in a way different than county officials were anticipating.
“They can do it their way if they want,” Alston said,” but I wished they had called to tell us what they were going to do.”
At the county commissioners meeting on January 6, an animated Alston suggested the city was not concerned about people being evicted during the pandemic because they weren’t taking action to access $10 million in funds that were readily available.
On Friday, January 7, the day after Alston’s outburst, an email from city staff to the Greensboro City Council members gave an update on the actions of the city with regard to the $10 million.
It stated, “On November 1, 2021, City Council approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Guilford County and the City of Greensboro regarding the transfer and use of federally allocated funds for the Emergency Rental and Utilities Assistance (ERA) program. Among other terms, the agreement called for an initial allocation of $2 million from the county to the city, with further distributions made upon reimbursement requests submitted to the county from the city.”
The email to the council then provided a summary of the internal application review and payment process that the city is using to ensure proper auditing and documentation practices:
In the email, city staff stated that the process would meet the needs of the tenants and landlords as well as meet the documentation and audit requirements needed for receiving federal funding.