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    32.    
City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 02/11/2020  
Submitted By: Alma Hernandez, Senior Management Analyst

SUBJECT:
PRIORITIZATION AND ALLOCATION OF ELIGIBLE PUBLIC SERVICE PROJECTS FOR PROGRAM YEAR 2020-21 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) FUNDS
RECOMMENDATION:
  1. Conduct a Public Hearing, review, and provide policy direction regarding allocating a percentage of Community Development Block Grant funds to public service projects. 
     
  2. Choose public service projects in which to allocate the Community Development Block Grant funds.
BACKGROUND/ANALYSIS:
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) annually allocates funds to the City of Chino Hills through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. HUD has not provided the City with its expected allocation for the 2020-21 program year. Staff estimates that the allocation will remain the same as last year, which is approximately $385,500. The actual allocation may either increase or decrease based upon the official allocation from HUD.
 
The City is required to develop and submit to HUD an annual Action Plan, which identifies the City’s goals and objectives for utilizing CDBG funds to benefit low and moderate-income families, and further fair housing practices. There are several ways this can be accomplished, which have been categorized into different eligible activities. Public service is one eligible activity, of which only 15%, or $57,825, of the grant can be allocated to public service projects. Council has the ability to allocate no funds, a portion of the funds, or the full amount to public service projects. If no funds or only a portion of the funds are allocated to public service projects, then the remaining funds could be programed into other CDBG projects (i.e. Los Serranos Infrastructure Project or the Home Improvement Grant Program).

It is important for the City to continuously review and re-evaluate these programs. CDBG regulations encourage cities to utilize CDBG funds for public services provided that the service is a new service or that there is a quantifiable increase in the level of an existing service that has been provided by the City in the 12 months preceding the Annual Action Plan. There is a $5,000 minimum funding level for public service projects, based on HUD’s recommendation. 
 
In November 2019, 36 organizations were sent letters notifying them that CDBG funding was available. Public Notices were published in the Chino Hills Champion Newspaper on November 30 and December 14, 2019, and on the City's website. An application workshop was held on December 18, 2019.

A total of six applications were received this year. Unfortunately, two of the applicants were found to be ineligible at this time. The four remaining eligible applicants are prior year grant awardees. The total of the four eligible proposals totaled $52,000.   

San Bernardino County Library, James S. Thalman Chino Hills Branch
Adult Literacy Program
Funding Request = $15,000

 
The San Bernardino County Library, James S. Thalman Chino Hills Branch offers an Adult Literacy Program that provides free tutoring and instructional support to English-speaking illiterate adult learners. They are past grant awardees, and are currently funded for FY 2019-20 in the amount of $15,000. Their stated goal is to assist 41 individuals. 

House of Ruth
Domestic Violence Services
Funding Request = $15,000 

 
House of Ruth's domestic violence program services victims of domestic violence and their children with lifesaving crisis counseling, case management, 24-hour hotline, support groups, self sufficiency workshops, social services advocacy, and prevention education. They are past grant awardees, and are currently funded for FY 2019-20 in the amount of $15,000. Their stated goal is to assist a minimum of 40 individuals with case management services, successfully develop a list of safety measures to keep themselves and their children safe, and participate in prevention education programming.
 
Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board (IFHMB)
Landlord-Tenant Mediation Services
Funding Request = $12,000

 
IFHMB Landlord-Tenant Mediation Services provides conflict resolution services to landlords and tenants and will educate all parties on landlord-tenant rights and responsibilities under the California Civil Code. Most of their referrals come from the City's Code Enforcement Division. Often times, Code Enforcement receives calls about civil issues that are outside their purview and are able to offer residents this service as an option. They are past grant awardees, and are currently funded for FY 2019-20 in the amount of $10,000. Their stated goal is to assist 42 individuals. 

Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board also provides Fair Housing Services, which provides fair housing information, education, outreach, mediation and case management activities as part of HUD's requirement to affirmatively further fair housing. This activity is eligible for administration funds and will be part of the Action Plan that will be submitted to Council for approval at a later date. 

Chino Neighborhood House  
Food Assistance Program 
Funding Request = $10,000

 
The Chino Neighborhood House  provides food provisions and clothing to very-low and to low and moderate income families in Chino and Chino Valley Unified School District. They were first time grant awardees last year, and are currently funded for FY 2019-20 in the amount of $10,000. Their stated goal is to assist 90 individuals.  
 
 
In addition to the four applicants mentioned above, two additional applications were received. These organizations were found to be ineligible at this time. 

Heart2Serve  (INELIGIBLE)
Funding Request = $50,000

 
Heart2Serve was awarded CDBG funding in Fiscal Year 2018/2019. They offer personalized assistance in 10 categories: legal, employment & finance, recovery, transportation, spiritual growth, physical health & wellness, social services, education & training, mental health, and immigration assistance. They were found to be ineligible. Their tax exempt and Registry of Charitable Trusts status could not be confirmed.

Project Chela  (INELIGIBLE)
Funding Request = $20,000

 
Project Chela is a first time applicant. They offer teens an opportunity to learn soft skills, and host adventure workshops to improve interpersonal skills that will in turn help to reduce anxiety and anger. They were found to be ineligible. In addition to their application being incomplete, their Registry of Charitable Trusts status could not be confirmed.

 
ENVIRONMENTAL (CEQA) REVIEW:
This proposed action is exempt from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code §§ 21000, et seq., "CEQA") and CEQA regulations (14 California Code Regulations §§ 15000, et seq.) because it constitutes an organizational or administrative activity that will not result in direct or indirect physical changes in the environment. Accordingly, this action does not constitute a "project" that requires environmental review (see specifically 14 CCR § 15378 (b)(4-5)).
FISCAL IMPACT:
Community Development Block Grant funds are provided by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. There is no impact on the General Fund with this item.
REVIEWED BY OTHERS:
This item has been reviewed by the Finance Director.
Attachments
SB Country Library
House of Ruth
IFHMB
Chino Neighborhood House

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