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City Council Regular
Meeting Date: 02/27/2018  
Submitted By: Alma Hernandez, Senior Management Analyst

  1. Conduct a Public Hearing, review, and provide policy direction regarding allocating a percentage of Community Development Block Grant funds to public service projects; and 
  2. Choose public service projects in which to allocate the Community Development Block Grant funds.
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 2018-2019 program year.  Staff estimates that the allocation will remain the same as last year, which is approximately $334,000.   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 $50,100, 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 reevaluate 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 2017, 43 organizations were sent letters notifying them that CDBG funding was available.  Public Notices were published in the Chino Hills Champion Newspaper on November 18 and November 25, 2017. A mandatory application workshop was held on November 30, 2017.

The past couple of years, a review committee consisting of three staff members with grant experience from different departments, Community Services, Community Development, and Engineering, reviewed and evaluated the proposals.  In order to enhance the internal review process, a complete revision of the funding request application was completed this year.  The revised application allows organizations to provide additional information about their organization, goals, and ability to meet grant requirements.  Unfortunately, only four applications were received this year, with three out of the four organizations being prior year grant awardees.  Therefore, this year's applications were not evaluated by the review committee.  Staff will be reviewing the internal review process for next year.  

As previously stated, four proposals were received totaling $60,180 from San Bernardino County Library, James S. Thalman Chino Hills Branch, House of Ruth, Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board, and Heart2Serve:  

San Bernardino County Library, James S. Thalman Chino Hills Branch
Adult Literacy Program
Funding Request = $10,000 

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 17/18 in the amount of $10,000. Their stated goal is to assist 36 individuals. 

House of Ruth
Domestic Violence Services
Funding Request = $10,000 

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 17/18 in the amount of $10,000. Their stated goal is to assist a minimum of 50 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 = $15,180

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.  Their stated goal is to assist 65 individuals.  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.

IFHMB is also a past awardee, except that in previous years they were allocated a grant from the administration funds.  Their FY 17/18 allocation is $13,800. During a recent review of eligible activities it was determined that these services should be part of the public service allocation.  IFHMB 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 approved by Council at a later date. 
Housing, Recovery and Employment
Funding Request = $25,000

Heart2Serve is the only new organization applying for funds this year.  As stated in their application, they are a fairly new organization and have never received federal funding.  They offer a two-year program focused on 10 categories of individual needs including, housing, employment, recovery, transportation, and legal assistance. Funds are requested for the following areas: women’s and men’s housing, employment for displaced individuals, and recovery and transportation.  Their stated goal is to assist 72 individuals.  
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)).
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.
This item has been reviewed by the Finance Director.
House of Ruth

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