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Adorned African Boutique in downtown Lawrence is closing after 30 years of business. Rampant business closings and skyrocketing unemployment has prompted the federal government to allocate $2 trillion in aid to cities and towns across the nation.

Nearly $2 million in Community Development Block Grants will be allocated to to Lawrence, Topeka and Leavenworth to help ease the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, Rep. Steve Watkins announced in a press release on April 1.

Lawrence will receive $446,184, according to an email from Porter Arneill, director of communications and creative resources for the City of Lawrence.

“This funding will help local communities fight the economic impact of the coronavirus by equipping states and localities with vital resources. Kansans and Congress are unified in the war against the coronavirus,” Watkins said in a statement.

The grant, awarded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, allows flexible funding for a range of services to address coronavirus impacts at the community level, the press release said. 

The grants are intended to be used for infrastructure, economic development projects, public facilities installation, community centers, housing rehabilitation, and other community based needs, according to HUD’s website.

“Community development activities build stronger and more resilient communities,” according to the HUD website. “Federal support encourages systematic and sustained action by state and local governments.”

With no guidance yet from the federal government, the cities are unable to comment on how these funds will be allocated, said Arneill.

-Edited by Elise Lindemann