Wednesday, December 7, 2022


Warnock projected to win in U.S. Senate race for Georgia; new report urges Governor-Elect to fix PA unemployment system; rising land prices pose challenges for VA farmers.


The nation watches as votes are counted in the Senate runoff in Georgia, the House holds hearings in the lame-duck session, and Capitol Police Officers receive medals for their heroism on January 6.


The first-ever "trout-safe" certification goes to an Idaho fish farm, the Healthy Housing Initiative helps improve rural communities' livability, and if Oklahoma is calling to you, a new database makes it easier for buyers and builders to find available lots.

Arkansas Rejects Most of Latest Federal Rental-Assistance Funds


Monday, May 2, 2022   

Arkansas is declining most of the $146 million made available in a second round of Emergency Rental Assistance from the federal government. Critics of the move predict the decision will hurt families still struggling due to the pandemic.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Treasury asking to take only 39% of the funds for "housing stability" programs. Hutchinson cited a strong economy and job market as reasons for rejecting the funds.

But Joyce Jones - a volunteer with Arkansas Renters United - said rental assistance has been a lifeline for lower-income families.

"This pandemic put a lot of pressure on a lot of families," said Jones. "A lot of families lost their jobs. Some people have recovered, in the sense of getting their jobs or getting a new job. These are minimum-wage jobs, and minimum wage does not pay the rent."

Arkansas still has $6.7 million in rental assistance left, but the state has closed its emergency Rent Relief Program application portal and there are no plans to reopen it.

A spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Human Services said the state hopes to get approval to use these federal funds for job training, education and other services for families at risk of housing instability.

In the meantime, Little Rock's rental prices have grown more than 16% since March 2020. Jones said with money remaining in the emergency fund, her organization would like to see the state reopen the Arkansas Rent Relief Program.

"Some of these people end up living in their cars," said Jones. "And if we get these funds and keep distributing the funds to the people in need, then we're averting some of that disaster."

The state DHS says Arkansans can access other rental-assistance programs through the Emergency Solutions Grant, the Community Services Block Grant, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program - all of which are available through community action agencies.

get more stories like this via email
According to Consumer Reports, crowded windowless "factory farms" likely contribute to salmonella and campylobacter bacteria in poultry. The consumer advocacy publication suggests choosing organic-raised poultry over conventional. It acknowledges organic production is more costly. (Adobe Stock)


A new study is focused on concerns for Nebraska waterways. The three-year, independently funded research identifies rising levels of phosphorus and …

Health and Wellness

Inside a massive appropriations bill now in Congress is a provision which would allow federal funding for dental therapists. Dental therapists …


Promoting access to nature for underserved communities can improve quality of life while bolstering biodiversity and fighting climate change…

Small businesses like the Goddess Mercado in East Los Angeles employ almost half of all private-sector workers in California. (Martin Gamez/Goddess Mercado)

Social Issues

This holiday season, shopping at local small businesses could bring them as much as $88 billion, according to a survey from Intuit QuickBooks…

Social Issues

Minnesota's projected budget surplus now stands at more than $17 billion, and supporters of clean energy projects and other infrastructure needs say …

Montana landowners and hunters have butted heads in the past about how to best manage the state's elk population. (kojihirano/Adobe Stock)


With Montana lawmakers looking at a large budget surplus, a group of hunters, scientists and landowners is asking them to consider creating a trust …


The Iowa Watershed Planning Advisory Council just released its annual report and said the Iowa Water Plan needs an update. The report showed climate …

Social Issues

By Phoebe Petrovic for Wisconsin Watch.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Wisconsin News Connection reporting for Wisconsin Watch-Public News Service …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021