The Glendale City Council discussed its priorities for the funds the city government will receive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 2020-21 fiscal year during a council workshop on September 10.
Each year, Glendale receives funding from HUD to address housing and social needs, usually targeting programs for area homeless and low-income populations.
The city’s community revitalization staff anticipates around $3.3 million in HUD funds in the upcoming financial year to spread around different programs.
Of that projected money, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) will amount to around $2.47 million, the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) — specifically targeting solutions for the area’s homeless population — should total just over $210,000 and the Home Investment Partnership will likely equal around $667,000 in anticipated funds.
Several community revitalization staff members attended a retreat run by the Community Development Advisory Committee in late July and presented several social trends they felt needed to be addressed.
After discussion with CDAC, they recommended major focus be put on eviction prevention and intervention, housing solutions, workforce and economic development, senior services, homeless supportive outreach and navigation and supportive services in the upcoming fiscal year, and recommended such actions to the council at the recent meeting.
Revitalization administrator Michael Hess told the council that each dollar received is necessary for assisting those dealing with poverty or homelessness in Glendale.
“There’s quite a bit of need out in the community. Whether it pertains to seniors, children and youth, the homeless (or) working families, there’s significant need all around,” Hess said.
Among the troubling statistical trends the community revitalization staff was provided by HUD, Hess said, was that around 50% of Glendale residents live in a state of housing burden due to lower-paying jobs and high rent or ownership costs.
“That means at least 30% of their total income is used to pay for housing expenses,” Hess said.
He added that HUD figures suggest 17% spend over 50% of their regular income on housing expenses, an even more extreme level of burden.
Also according to HUD numbers, 46.8% of homes are renter-occupied, which Hess said is significantly higher than the national average.
The council did not dispute any of the recommendations, but Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers added that a specific focus should be placed on providing funding to the city’s foster care services. He said several people, especially those fostering children, say the amount of 18-year-olds who are forced from foster care and immediately become homeless is troubling. Thus, money from the grants, he said, should include allocations for relevant provisions.
“If we can’t get these kids help, get them jobs early, then they become a burden,” Weiers said.
While the direction is set for the council and revitalization staff to continue its planning for the upcoming fiscal year’s HUD funds, the council still has plenty of time to work out specifics and change any plans.
Council will revisit the matter in February, in anticipation of a vote and official action plan due to the federal government by May 15, 2020.