Council approves $3M HUD housing grants

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Staff Writer

As Glendale officials continue to focus on the growing homeless population throughout the city, the council approved the annual action plan for fiscal year 2018-19 to the U.S. which would allow the acceptance of a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant of nearly $3 million.
“(Council approval) of the annual action plan to HUD allows for acceptance of the federal funds,” Community Services Department Director Stephanie Small said. “In previous meetings, staff understood councilmembers may have additional discussion for allocation and council will have a chance to amend this plan after we receive final approval from HUD.”
For the city to receive the funds, nonprofits are required to undergo a public process to solicit public input and formulate the city’s Five-Year Consolidated Plan and Annual Action Plan (AAP).
Each community-based strategic initiative identifies housing and community development priorities, goals and strategies for assisting Glendale residents. In general terms, the strategies outline what can be funded and guide the allocation process throughout the life of the plans. The strategies are designed to work with and complement other approved plans, such as the city’s General Plan, the Centerline Initiative and the Strategic Housing Plan.
Glendale receives annual allocations of federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to address critical community needs. Funding comes from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment and Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), both HUD programs.
Council unanimously approved the action plan for fiscal year 2018-19, which totals $3,648,409. The total includes a CDBG ($2,725,175), HOME allocation ($718,852) and an ESG funding ($204,382).
“Glendale receives these federal funds that are used for two categories: public safety and physical improvements,” Small said during an April workshop. “We start working on these recommendations in July so we have ample time to bring it back to council before final approval.”
The city received 44 applications, with 35 recommended to receive funds.
The approval of the grant allows city staff to use the funds to keep struggling residents in their homes, assist residents with core needs, including utilities and food; support home delivery of meals; support shelter services programs; provide emergency home repair and rehabilitation programs; demolish and clean blighted structures; emphasize revitalization of the Centerline/Redevelopment Area; and support workforce development and job training opportunities.
For fiscal year 2018-19, the city of Glendale had anticipated receiving $2,200,786 in CDBG funds; $514,115 in HOME funds; and $189,758 in ESG funds, but approved the larger total.
The city recommended funding to the following organizations: Community Bridges, Sojourner Center, YMCA, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Glendale Woman’s club, Valleylife, Phoenix Rescue Mission, A New Left Inc. and Maggie’s Place, among others.
“When nonprofits apply for funds, they do not have to physically be in Glendale, but they have to serve the residents of the city to receive funds,” Community Revitalization Administrator Charyn Elrich-Palmisano said in April. “Under federal regulations, programs have to be monitored, and annually, our staff does risk analysis for nonprofits.”
In April, numerous councilmembers questioned whether the funds requested and directed to nonprofits are actually used for nonprofits and not used for for-profit organizations.
“Valleylife is a nonprofit and their funding is for physical improvements to group homes in Glendale,” Yucca Councilmember Joyce Clark said. “While I know they are a pass-through, where they get funds and pass the money on, what insures that this money only goes to nonprofits?”
Small and Elrich-Palmisano said staff reviews the nonprofits constantly and will audit them when needed to ensure funds are only used for nonprofit group home improvements.
“Since community revitalization staff oversees the projects, we will make sure they are owned and operated by Valleylife,” Elrich-Palmisano said.
Among the largest recommendations for funds was Habitat for Humanity ($400,000), city of Glendale Parks and Recreation, Public Facilities and Events ($160,000) and Glendale Woman’s Club ($156,691) for physical improvements.
The report comes after councilmembers heard an update during the March 27 workshop, which showed a 187-percent increase in homeless in Glendale.
Mayor Jerry Weiers added that he recently toured Albuquerque, N.M., where it has a program in which city staff drives around, picking up people holding “will work for food” signs and hires them to pick up trash throughout the city. Staff is researching beginning the program in Glendale to assist the homeless.
“Then, after they do the work and are paid an hourly rate, they are taken to shelters and given assistance with how to help get them off the streets,” Weiers said.

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