Grant allocations gain approval

DOWNEY - The City Council has approved the city's 2009-10 Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnership (HOME) program funds, except for one line item.Voicing strong support for the work being done by the True Lasting Connections Family Resource Center, the Council voted to restore $1,900 to what would have been a slashed down allocation of just $1,500 originally programmed for TLC. Thus TLC will get its prior year's funding of $3,400. The $1,900 will be subtracted from a Senior Nutrition program. Otherwise, the funding's outlines are as follows: next fiscal year, the city will be entitled to receive new federal grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the amount of $1,497,099 in CDBG and $797,761 in HOME funds, for a total of $2,294,860. In addition, $135,000 is expected to be generated primarily from loan repayments as program income. The federal grants must be used on activities that satisfy such HUD national objectives as the provision of decent housing, of a suitable living environment, and the expansion of economic opportunities, or otherwise addressing economic development activities primarily benefiting residents who are of low and moderate income. Among the city's project headings indicated as eligible for CDBG funding are: a) property improvement/preservation-housing rehabilitation; senior paint & fix-up program, and home modification program; b) code enforcement; c) public service activities provided by: TLC, the Community/Senior Center, Adult Literacy Program, Arc of Southeast LA County, ASPIRE program, Rio Hondo Temporary Home, and So. Calif. Rehabilitation Services. Accounting for the bulk of the HOME grant are housing rehabilitation and affordable housing partnership projects. The Council meanwhile authorized the city manager to submit the Action Plan and the grantee certifications to HUD. Moreover, because of the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided federal stimulus funds to HUD for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), it behooved the city to approve a substantial amendment to its original CDBG Action Plan to incorporate this additional funding. The city indeed has done this. It was notified earlier that its allocation of HPRP funds is $611,834. These funds the city intends to use for homeless prevention and rapid re-housing. The Recovery Act requires fund recipients to expend 60 percent of HPRP funds within two years, and 100 percent of HPRP funds within three years of the date of the grant agreement. The four categories of eligible activities for the HPRP program include: financial assistance (short-term and medium-term rent assistance, security deposits, utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, even motel/hotel vouchers); housing relocation and stabilization services (housing search and placement, legal services, credit repair); data collection and evaluation (software purchases, lease/purchase of computer equipment); and administrative costs (training of staff, preparation of reports, audits, monitoring and similar costs related to administering HPRP). Although HPRP's intent is to rapidly transition participants to stability, it is not intended to be in the nature of a long-term assistance program for participants, nor will it be able to address all the supportive services needed to prevent long-term homelessness. In other action, the Council: •Accepted the improvements and the maintenance responsibility for the work completed under the Miscellaneous Concrete Construction and Repair Improvements Project, and approved the final construction contract amount of $318,392.74; •Awarded a contract totaling $1,618,753 to Sialic Contractors Corporation dba Shawnan for residential street pavement rehabilitation in several areas of the city; Shawnan's bid was approximately 33 percent lower than the Engineer's Estimate; •Approved the plans and specifications for an on-call contract for street and concrete repairs and minor public works improvements within the public right-of-way in the city prompted by numerous service requests from the public; and granted authority to advertise for bids on the project; •Accepted the street and water improvements and maintenance responsibility for the Lakewood Blvd. Improvement Project in connection with the development agreement with Citibank, and approved the final contract amount of $539,529.44; •Accepted the improvements and maintenance responsibility for the Civic Center north parking lot upgrade, and approved the final construction contract amount of $251,661.09, and also earmarked $8,426.59 from the Police Department's asset forfeiture fund for the project; •Adopted a resolution adding a mandatory penalty of $4.50 for all parking offense fines, thus amending the parking violation fine schedule; the $4.50 will go to the State Court Facilities Construction fund; •Introduced an ordinance authorizing an amendment to the contract between the City Council and the Board of Administration of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS), referencing life insurance benefits known as Pre-Retirement Option 2W Death Benefit and the Fourth Level of 1959 Survivor Benefits that apply to local miscellaneous members; and adopted a resolution of its intention to approve said ordinance; •Heard a presentation by Assemblyman Hector De La Torre honoring Julia Desalemos as 50th Assembly District "Woman of the Year" from Downey; •Heard a presentation by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses' float entry chairperson Bob Miller gifting the Downey Rose Float Association with a large portrait of its Founder's Trophy-winning 2009 float entry, "Broadway's Golden Age"; •Heard Mayor Mario Guerra proclaim May 17-23 as National Public Works Week; •Likewise heard Guerra proclaim May 2009 as "Older Americans Month," while honoring longtime Downey resident and volunteer Cleo Latimer as epitomizing the best qualities Downey's older population offers in "enhancing the quality of life for us all"; •Also named May 2009 as the "Month of the Young Child," as a group of young costumed children entertained with a surprise (and well-received) song-and-dance routine; and •Presented a certificate of appreciation to Downey resident Jose Armando Juarez for his service in Iraq and Germany. The next regular public meeting of the City Council will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26 at City Hall, 11111 Brookshire Ave.

********** Published: May 15, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 4