Dozens of Stone Mountain families receive help paying for rent, utilities

City of Stone Mountain

Credit: City of Stone Mountain

Credit: City of Stone Mountain

City of Stone Mountain

Dozens of families in Stone Mountain received help paying their rent, mortgage and utility bills as part of a COVID-19 relief program by the city.

Stone Mountain awarded $150,000 worth of assistance to 63 families through a partnership with St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic charity. City Manager ChaQuias Miller-Thornton said during a City Council meeting that 136 checks were written as part of the program, ranging from $247 to $4,000.

She added that many residents still need help, since 50 applicants were not able to receive any funds. The charity received about $117,000 worth of legitimate requests that could not be fulfilled because funds run out. Recipients were given checks on a first-come, first-served basis.

In addition, the program received nearly 500 requests for help from people outside of Stone Mountain’s city limits, meaning they did not qualify to receive funds from the city. According to the latest U.S. Census data, the city is one of the smallest in DeKalb County with about 6,000 residents.

Miller-Thornton also gave an update on the city’s small business and nonprofit relief efforts.

Stone Mountain recently completed its first round of grant rewards, which was focused on brick-and-mortar businesses. The city set aside $150,000 worth of funds and received valid requests totaling more than double that amount, leaving a funding gap of $165,000. A blind lottery was used to award 20 businesses with grants worth $7,500.

At the beginning of March, the city opened its grant application window for nonprofits and home-based workers. The city budgeted $100,000 worth of grants for those groups. Stone Mountain will stop accepting applications Sunday and had about $55,000 worth of funds left as of the Tuesday meeting.

All of these programs were financed through the city’s allotment of Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds. Stone Mountain received about $712,000 and still has about $219,000 left to spend.

“Council may want to consider a second round of funding for commercial brick-and-mortar establishments,” Miller-Thornton said.

Mayor Pro Tem Chakira Johnson said city leaders would discuss expanding the programs at its next work session, which is slated for March 16.

Follow DeKalb County News on Facebook and Twitter