One month after Kentucky cities could begin to apply for funding from the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission (OAAC), it has received more than 150 applications. “The application portal has been well utilized,” OAAC Executive Director Bryan Hubbard said in the organization’s meeting on Tuesday. OAAC Executive Staff Advisor Alison Chavies reported that 152 applications had been started, and seven are complete as of Tuesday.
Hubbard said the OAAC had received requests asking that the commission host an informational workshop on the application process to offer a perspective on plans to utilize the portal. “We have made ourselves available and ask anybody to reach out with questions, and we will be glad to provide technical guidance and assistance,” he commented. He added that the OAAC is working with “a degree of vaguery” to allow for straightening out processes as it moves forward. “Subcommittees will set dates for working through the applications, with an eye toward trying to have the first award announcements in the late spring of 2023.”
The Commission began accepting applications in October for Kentucky’s portion of the $478 million opioid settlement. While the group does not handle the 50% directly allocated to local governments, cities can apply for additional funding through the commission.
The application process is ongoing, but the OAAC recommends completing submissions within 30 days of starting the process. Cities and other entities can apply for funding here. Questions regarding the funding process can be directed to Alison Chavies at 502.696.5638 or Scott Hornbuckle at 502.234.4194, or you can email questions here.
The commission has held seven of eight scheduled town halls, with one remaining in Paducah on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. CST. Shreeta Waldon, executive director of the Kentucky Harm Reduction Coalition, asked the commission to add a second town hall in Louisville. In a letter to the group, Waldon noted that opioid overdose death rates among Black Kentuckians now exceed that of whites.
She requested an additional community event “solidly within the West End, aimed at centering and amplifying Black voices.” Hubbard suggested hosting an event on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. EST, and commission members expressed no issues with the date and time. “We will work to get a location nailed down no later than one week from today so we can begin to work in earnest on driving the attendance that we need to have at this particular town hall,” Hubbard stated.
Hubbard also announced plans to host a Statewide Commission Conference in September 2023 devoted to the commission’s efforts. He referenced a similar two-day event in Indiana and said funding could come from the OAAC administrative budget. Additionally, he said he would like to look at sponsorships as an additional funding source.
The OAAC will meet on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 1 p.m. EST at the Capital Complex East, Suite 200, in Frankfort.