GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Money from a federal COVID-19 relief program will be distributed to organizations around Grand Rapids that aim to help people afford the place they live.

To receive the funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, organizations will submit a proposal to the Grand Rapids Affordable Housing Board.

“We are looking for projects that are almost shovel-ready, just looking for that last bit of investment in order to generate housing units or programs that serve people earning at or below 80% AMI (Area Mean Income) or programs that will help people find or stay in stable and affordable housing,” said Deputy City Manager Kate Berens.

The board will then review the proposals and make a recommendation to City Commission to distribute up to $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding. The city is trying to address the lack of affordable housing that continues to be an issue across West Michigan.

“We’ve all seen the growth that’s happened in this area and in Grand Rapids in particular and we know that there’s a need out there for people to find that stable, affordable housing,” said Berens. “And so it’s really a pent-up demand for more housing overall, and that will, we believe, help with the affordability. We need good quality housing at all price points.”

Organizations must submit an agency information application and project application. They can submit more than one. The city is looking to get the funding allocated as soon as possible because they are tied to the ARPA deadline.

“We need to have these commitments made by 2024 and the money spent by 2026, and again, we’re really looking for those projects that just need a last bit of investment in order to actually break ground,” Berens said.

Proposals must be submitted by noon on Feb. 17 to be considered. They can be dropped off at the Executive Office in Grand Rapids City Hall. Late submissions will not be accepted.

For more information, visit the Grand Rapids website or contact the Executive Office at 616.456.3497 or