Almost everyone has an opinion on how New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell should spend the $80 million-plus in federal ARPA funding. Mitchell has already released a "working list" of his priorities, but the city council is looking for changes, and so are community groups in New Bedford.

One of those groups is United Interfaith Action, a faith-based organization working on community problems throughout the region. UIA has designated housing as the number one issue in New Bedford.

In his plan, Mayor Mitchell designated $13 million for housing and neighborhood stabilization.  UIA says that's not enough.

On Townsquare Sunday this week, UIA Executive Director Andrea Shepard Lomba and member Rene Ledbetter appealed to the mayor to raise the commitment for housing by $8 million, to $21 million. UIA says the sustainable future of New Bedford is connected to housing, and the creation of affordable housing and stabilizing neighborhoods is really an investment in people that will pay off in the long run.

Its proposal includes creating more affordable housing, establishing an emergency fund to help people pay overdue rents or mortgages and avoid evictions, and creating a fund for supportive housing and a day-program for the homeless. UIA is planning to meet with Mitchell in March to outline their plan.

Lomba and Ledbetter's Townsquare Sunday interview can be heard here:

Townsquare Sunday is a weekly public affairs program heard every Sunday morning at 6 and 11 on 1420 WBSM and 99.5 FM.

The program highlights individuals and organizations working to make Greater New Bedford a better place to live and work.

If you would like your organization featured on Townsquare Sunday, please e-mail the host at

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