City leaders on Thursday took the next step toward providing more than $400,000 for programs that will benefit both low- to moderate-income homeowners and residents who need landlord/tenant services.
Driving the news: After holding the first of two required public hearings — which drew no public comments — the Palm Springs City Council voted 5-0 to approve plans to spend $413,500 in grant money coming from the federal government.
- The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides the funds, was adopted by Congress nearly 50 years ago. It’s designed to be a flexible funding source for local governments to meet the community development needs of their low and moderate-income residents.
Details: Under the plan presented by city staff during the council’s regular meeting, $350,000 would become available for a residential rehabilitation program, and $62,000 would be available to address and promote fair housing rights and landlord/tenant services.
- The rehabilitation program would include money for residents to address code deficiencies, eliminate blight, and improve handicapped access.
- The city hopes to partner with a local non-profit fair housing services organization to provide 2,000 renters assistance.
Next steps: Another public hearing will be scheduled for late April, followed by submission of the plans to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for review.
- If all goes as planned, funds can be requested starting July 1.
But wait: While securing the money is one thing, distributing it is another. Both Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Bernstein and Councilmember Ron deHarte pointed out that those who need the funds the most may be residents who are the least plugged in to what’s happening at City Hall.
- Ariel Tolefree-Williams, who recently joined the city to fill the role of Housing Services Administrator, assured the council that code enforcement officers are already communicating with residents who would most likely be able to take advantage of the funds.
- Added Mayor Grace Garner: “One of the things that has been the best method of reaching people is actually going and knocking on doors. In both mobile home parks and Coyote Run we’ve passed out flyers in both English and Spanish. there are many people in the community who would be willing to help do that.”