Welcome to SARPC's digital newsletter. Our goal is to publish a newsletter bi-monthly that provides highlights of projects and activities being undertaken at the agency. If you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
In This Issue

As we begin to recover from Hurricane Sally, which brought much devastation to our Region, I'm cognizant of the role that SARPC has always played in disaster recovery efforts. Each of our Department Directors has experience in working with Federal, State and local governmental agencies and nonprofits. Please contact us at 251-433-6541, if we can assist in any capacity. We continue our mission to enhance the quality of life in our Region (Mobile, Baldwin and Escambia Counties) with the numerous programs and services that SARPC administers. Please remember to stay safe!!

John F. "Rickey" Rhodes

Executive Director
South Alabama Regional Planning Commission
Post Office Box 1665
Mobile, AL 36633                                                                   
Business Line: (251) 433-6541
Direct: (251) 706-4667
Cell: (251) 421-9400
Fax: (251) 433-6009

 Visit the official Alabama Counts Census website at Census.Alabama.gov


Mobile MPO Updates

Congratulations to The Learning Tree on the delivery of three new vehicles this morning! These vehicles were funded through the Federal Transit Administration 5310 (Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities) funding that the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission is the Designated Recipient of.  The "call for projects" is currently open for the FY2021 round of funding.

RPO Updates

The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) met this week using the GoToMeeting app. The agenda included:

*Adoption of the minutes of the previous meeting (these will be sent out soon)
*Review and adoption of the Fiscal Year 2021 Work Program (available Here)
*Review and adoption of the Fiscal Years 2020-2023 Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan (available Here)

The RPO Transportation Plan Project List (available for review online Here)

Mobile Area Transit System Feasibility Study

We are nearing the end of Fiscal Year 2020, and VIA has completed The MOBILE AREA TRANSIT SYSTEM FEASIBILITY STUDY REPORT There was a stakeholder meeting several weeks ago concerning the study.  VIA presented HERE potential types of operators and potential operating budget.  A big challenge is going to the local community support and matching funds.
The current health crisis has affected the potential outcome of the study.  The intent of the study was to find potential local sponsors to match federal funds to create a transit system to operate throughout Mobile County to connect with WAVE Transit.  The sponsors would have provided assistance through subscriptions or contracts for commuter trips. The current price of gasoline, and the threat of contracting virus on buses, may put a strain on ridership of a new system.  However, there are still people in need of transportation, and there is some thought that regardless of the price of gasoline, there will be an increased number of distressed people due to the economy, that will need transportation.  This may be the perfect time to consider transportation throughout Mobile County. 
Tasks 1, 2 and 3 are  HERE.
Human Services Coordinated Plan Meeting Postponed (It was scheduled for Wednesday September 16th)

Due to Hurricane Sally, the meeting has postponed to October 1,2020 10:00 AM.  For GOTO meeting information email 
The South Alabama Regional Planning Commission (SARPC) is updating the Human Services Coordinated Transportation Plan which details which projects are eligible for Federal Transit dollars for Elderly and Disabled, Job Access and Reverse Commute projects, or those transit projects that go above and beyond the requirements of ADA.  This plan covers all of Baldwin, Escambia, and Mobile Counties.

The Draft Plan is available for review online at:
If you are interested in, utilize, or provide transit or would like to apply for federal transit dollars for special needs transit services through the FTA 5310 program, please attend an online Public Meeting to be held at 10:00 am on Thursday, October 1st, 2020 using the GoToMeeting app. Please email tpiper@sarpc.org
Please contact the Transportation Planning Department at SARPC at 251-433-6541 if you have any questions or would like a printed copy of the draft plan mailed to you.


The LRTP is multimodal in scope, and is based on public input, and a travel demand forecast model. In 2019, an online survey was conducted with almost 150 respondents. Questions ranged from where is the worst congestion, what roads need improvements, problems with the transit systems, etc. There were a lot of comments about the I-10 Mobile River Bridge and the potential for tolls. Prior to the online survey, staff also conducted a South Alabama Freight Forum, which was an opportunity to hear from large manufacturers and trucking companies, to find out what the top issues are concerning the movement of freight in South Alabama. The Bicycle / Pedestrian plan was updated, and the public transit section was authored by the Wave Transit, less the Demand Response Transit Study. The Climate Change element, or Extreme Event Planning, remained almost unchanged from Destination 2040 LRTP.

The LRTP Envision 2045 was adopted by the Mobile Metropolitan Planning Organization on April 22, 2020.

More information on the new plan can be found at https://www.envision2045.org/

Transportation Improvement Program( TIP)

The TIP represents a four year program (2020-2023) for improvements in the various transportation systems located within the Mobile study area as identified in the Mobile MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), the twenty-five year plan for the Mobile Urban Area Destination 2040. The LRTP establishes the transportation programs that are needed to meet travel demand by the study year and study area. LRTP projects that become funded are moved into the TIP and submitted to the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), where they are programmed into the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). For MPO projects, TIP project selection is based on priorities established by MPO member governments and the availability of funds through the Surface Transportation Attributable program. For other projects, ALDOT has discretion of project funding based on availability of funds from various types of funding categories.  Most often, projects in the TIP are derived from the LRTP. The TIP guides ALDOT in its annual allocation of funds for transportation improvements and becomes a part of the STIP.
ArcGIS Online is now being utilized by MPO staff to map all federally funded surface transportation projects within our area. Check it out.
2020-2023 E-TIP HERE


Funding & Resource Announcements


Updates on the Fed's Main Street Lending Program

From the Boston Federal Reserve Bank's bulletin
The goal of the Main Street Lending Program is to keep credit flowing to small and midsized businesses and nonprofit organizations that were in sound financial condition before the coronavirus pandemic but now need financing to maintain operations. In July, the Main Street Lending Program's forms and agreements were amended to include the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility and the Nonprofit Organization Expanded Loan Facility. The documents include technical changes to accommodate multi-borrower loans and to simplify terms. In addition, the Main Street (for-profit) FAQs and Nonprofit Organization FAQs were updated. For more information and updates, visit the Main Street Lending Program web page.


Opens Sept 30: FEMA's FY20 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs

On August 4, 2020, FEMA posted the Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Notification of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) pre-disaster mitigation grant programs. FEMA's two competitive mitigation grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes and territories (SLTTs) funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation's ability to build a culture of preparedness by reducing disaster losses and protecting life and property from future disaster damages. This year there is $160 million available in funding for FMA and $500 million for BRIC. The BRIC priorities are to incentivize: public infrastructure projects; projects that mitigate risk to one or more lifelines; projects that incorporate nature-based solutions; and adoption and enforcement of modern building codes.
The FY20 BRIC and FMA application period opens on September 30, 2020. Applications must be received in the FEMA GO Portal by January 29, 2021. Note that FEMA will require applicants to have a current FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan at time of application and award. Visit the FY20 HMA NOFO webpage for more information.


Coming Soon: Energy Department to Issue "Connected Communities" Funding Opportunity for Commercial Building Energy Efficiency.

U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced its intent to issue a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled "Connected Communities." EERE anticipates awarding 4-6 projects for up to $7 million each in the form of cooperative agreements, or up to $42 million. EERE's Building Technologies Office would manage the FOA.
The FOA would support EERE's Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings research initiative, which explores how smart building technologies and practices will enable American businesses and families to save energy and reduce their utility bills while protecting their comfort, productivity, and quality of life. EERE is working toward a future in which buildings can serve as reliable grid assets that operate dynamically with the grid to enhance efficiency, flexibility, and resilience. The full Notice of Intent can be viewed HERE.


NEW:Apply by Oct 8 - DOL $40M Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants

The U.S. Department of Labor announced the availability of $40 million in Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants to expand community colleges' ability to meet labor market demand for a skilled workforce. The grants also build the capacity of community colleges to address challenges associated with the coronavirus health
Community colleges may apply for funding as a single institution to undertake capacity building at one institution, as a consortium of colleges in one state or across one or more community college districts in a state. The Department expects to fund approximately eight to 16 grants of up to $2 million for single institutions and up to $5 million for consortium applicants. The closing date for receipt of applications under this announcement is Oct. 8, 2020.

Open Federal Funding Opportunities:

Below is a list of previously highlighted funding opportunities that are still open. Enter the Opportunity Number in Grants.gov to see announcement details. You can also search Grants.gov for a full list of current federal opportunities, including programs not listed below.
Opportunity Number
Opportunity Title
Posted Date
Close Date
Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants
FY20 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities
FY 2019 EDA Disaster Supplemental
FY 2020 EDA Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs (Includes CARES Act Addendum)
Updated 05/07/2020
HUD's FY2020 and FY2021 Distressed Cities TA Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA)
NIST Manufacturing USA National Emergency Assistance Program


Webinars, Tools & Research

Request for Information on Federal Coordination to Promote Economic Mobility

Through a Request for Information (RFI)  in the July 16 FEDERAL REGISTER, HHS and its interagency partners (Agriculture, Education, Labor, HUD, Treasury, SSA, CEA, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Domestic Policy Council) seek to gather feedback from our stakeholders--state and local government agencies, local program operators, and the people that we serve. The information gathered in response to the RFI will be used to better inform the Council's priorities, working group activities, stakeholder engagement, and federal programs. Council members and the entire U.S. government are committed to a healthy and resilient America. COVID-19 has touched individuals and families in every corner of America--with communities across the country experiencing the pandemic in different ways. Feedback on the specific economic mobility, recovery, and resilience challenges in local communities in the short, medium, and long term is welcome. Comments are due by October 31.


Disaster Recovery Resources & Info

Economic Recovery Support & the National Disaster Response Framework

On behalf of the Department of Commerce, EDA leads the Economic Recovery Support Function (ERSF), under the National Disaster Response Framework (NDRF). Read more about EDA's role in Disaster Recovery here: https://www.eda.gov/disaster-recovery/
Following are weblinks to federal programs and resources to assist with economic recovery following major disasters:

Federal Disaster Declarations

COVID-19 Disaster Assistance Resources
Census Bureau Resources
Economic Development Administration (EDA) Resources

Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Centers Received CARES Act Funding

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): Broadband USA

ERSF Partner Agencies (FEMA, Labor, SBA, Treasury, USDA)

Additional Selected Federal Recovery Resources:

  • Department of Defense (DOD) COVID-19 JATF Industry Portal. COVID-19 National Response Team Joint Acquisition Task Force Industry Portal for Procurement and Grant Opportunities.

  • Department of Education (DOE): Education Stabilization Fund. These funds support state education agencies and local education agencies during the pandemic.

  • Housing and Urban Development (HUD)HUD COVID-19 Homepage.

See in particular:


Assistance for Natural Disasters


EDA Disaster Supplemental Funding Available for 2018/19 Natural Disasters

EDA Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) Disaster Supplemental Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO), made available $587 million for eligible grantees in communities impacted by presidentially declared natural disasters in 2018, and by floods and tornadoes in 2019. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. View Opportunity Number EDA-2019-DISASTER on Grants.gov, and contact your EDA Regional Office representative for eligibility information and application assistance.

NIST Funding Available for MEP Disaster Assessment Program

  • NIST MEP Disaster Assessment ProgramNIST will accept applications from MEP Centers on a rolling basis based on the date of the subject FEMA Disaster Declaration. See NOFO (2020-NIST-MEP-MDAP-01) for full details.

EPA Toolkit Features Resources to Prepare for Natural Disasters


HUD Technical Assistance (TA) for Disaster Recovery in Small Cities.


Mature Staffing Service (MSS)

Recently, our region was visited by hurricane Sally. She made a lasting impression with widespread destruction. During the storm MSS was instrumental in processing shelter workers in Baldwin County.
These workers provide the necessary organization of supplies and resources for those in harm's way. We are honored to play a part in providing support to their efforts.
In this difficult environment to locate qualified workers, MSS staff partners with other businesses and organizations to assist them with finding candidates to fill their job openings - whether it be for a temporary period of time or to find a full time permanent employee.
Additionally, MSS handles all the payroll processing which gives the client more time to focus on the services they provide to their communities.
Even in these difficult circumstances, MSS staff has continued to reach out to government entities and non-profit organizations to discuss Mature Staffing Services. A new relationship is developing with Coastal Community College. We anticipate them using MSS services to fill their staffing needs as well as MSS receiving prospects through their student body, for placement in job openings.
We are currently recruiting for the following positions:

Baldwin County Solid Waste
Pay $16.10/hr.
40 hours a week
Temporary position 
(assist with extra workload due to Hurricane Sally)

Please help us get the word out regarding job openings. Contact Shannon Raley @ 251-706-4639 for more information.


Area Agency on Aging Reached Milestones

  • Area Agency on Aging doubled the number of home delivered meals provided to respond to the pandemic: Frozen meals alone increased from 450 to 900 persons served a day in 2020
  • Area Agency on Aging increased the number of frail elderly and the disabled receiving Medicaid Waiver in-home care to 800 people receiving services every month
Special grant programs renewed in 2021
  • Benefit Enrollment Center
  • Mobile County Volunteer Guardian program
  • Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
  • SNAP Outreach for food assistance to older adults
2020 Senior Citizens Hall of Fame recognizes local citizens
The 38th Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame class induction was held in August 2020. The Hall of Fame has honored and recognized Alabamians age 60 and older for their outstanding contributions to the lives of older members in their local communities annually since 1983. The Class 0f 2020 members induced from South Alabama are Dorothy Bell and James Buskey of Mobile as Permanent members; Ted Jennings of Brewton, a Posthumous member; Dr. Thomas Rosandich of Daphne, a Lifetime Achievement award; and Special Awards were given to William and Shirley Harrison of Gulf Shores who have been married 65 years or more; and Patricia Collier of Whistler and Genevieve Hubbard of Daphne who are 100 years of age or more.  Congratulations Class of 2020!
CDC to Allow Some Visitation at Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities Under Released Guidelines
The CDC has released a set of staged guidelines for nursing homes and assisted living facilities related to non-essential personnel visitation.  While earlier steps have been taken for compassionate care visits, facilities are gearing up to offer regular visits by family members who have not seen their loved ones since March. While adhering to the core principles of COVID-19 infection prevention, the CDC advises that all visits should be held outdoors whenever practicable. Outdoor visitation can be conducted in a manner that reduces the risk of transmission due to increased space and airflow. Therefore, aside from weather considerations (e.g., inclement weather, excessively hot or cold temperatures, poor air quality), an individual resident's health status (e.g., medical condition(s), COVID-19 status), or a facility's outbreak status, outdoor visitation should be facilitated routinely. Facilities should create accessible and safe outdoor spaces for visitation, such as in courtyards, patios, or parking lots, including the use of tents, if available. When conducting outdoor visitation, facilities should have a process to limit the number and size of visits occurring simultaneously to support safe infection prevention actions (e.g., maintaining social distancing). CDC also recommends reasonable limits on the number of individuals visiting with any one resident at the same time. Currently facilities are working towards allowing controlled visitation.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman, employed by the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission, will resume visitation of facilities and certain residents by October 1, 2020  following CDC guidelines for outdoor visitation. The Ombudsman's role is to help ensure quality care and residents' rights in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.  To contact the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission's Ombudsman, call Frank Willis at 251-706-4666 or fwillis@sarpc.org.
Despite the pandemic, RSVP volunteers continue to serve

South Alabama RSVP  Pandemic Volunteer Activities include:
  • Completing free tax returns through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly program
  • 30 volunteer seamstresses made over 2,000 masks to be delivered to area nursing homes, cancer patients, first responders, senior citizens, and home delivered meal staff and volunteers.
  • Volunteers helped with emergency food distributions and disaster relief
  • Volunteers wrote and delivered over 500 notecards of encouragement for residents of nursing homes, including the W.F. Green Veterans Home in Bay Minette.

Persons interested in volunteering and agencies needing volunteers are encouraged to call Charles Smith, South Alabama RSVP Director, at 251-236-3881 or Dawne Biggs at the City of Daphne at 620-1462.  In Mobile County, call 574-7787.

Assistance with Long Term Recovery from Hurricane Sally for Seniors

If you are age 60 or older and are having trouble navigating the FEMA site and hotlines and have some unmet disaster related needs, call our Aging and Disability Resource Center at the Area Agency on Aging. We will try to put you in touch with the right person to help you recover from Hurricane Sally.  The Area Agency on Aging is a program of the South Alabama Regional Planning Commission. Call us at 251-706-4680.

Senior Resource Guide

Medicare Open Enrollment

Upgrade Your Health

Quick Links

Like us on Facebook

South Alabama Regional Planning Commission