City Allocates Federal Funding for Public Services

Citrus Heights, CA  |  Story by Shaunna Boyd
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CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (MPG) - Each year, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocates community development funding under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. The Citrus Heights City Council recently reviewed plans for the CDBG funds in both an Action Plan for the 2020 funds and a long-term Consolidated Plan for 2020-2024.

Stephanie Cotter of the City’s Community Development Department first introduced a CDBG draft plan in a public hearing at the Citrus Heights City Council meeting on October 10 and then presented the final plan at the October 24 meeting. Based on funding from previous years, Cotter estimated that in 2020 the City will receive $600,000 to help address community development and housing needs throughout the city. Of that total, 15% is available for public services ($90,000), 20% for planning and administration ($120,000), and the rest can be used for capital projects ($390,000).

Of the estimated $390,000 available for capital projects, staff recommended $200,000 be used for park and public facility improvements and $190,000 be reserved for housing preservation programs.

To determine how to allocate the $90,000 available for public services, in July the City requested applications from non-profit organizations that provide public services in Citrus Heights. Eight applications were submitted to the City’s Quality of Life Committee for review in September. The total funding requests for all eight applications combined was $146,000, well above the $90,000 available.

Cotter said, “Although the City wasn’t able to fund all of the requests, we recommended six activities to be funded.” These six organizations provide a wide range of public services in the community, and the 2020 Action Plan recommended the following allocations: $14,000 to Meals on Wheels, which provides nutrition for seniors; $16,000 to Sacramento Self-Help Housing for their housing counselor and navigator program and $21,140 for their Renters Helpline; $14,430 to Campus Life Connection for their after-school program at Sayonara Community Center; $14,439 to Sunrise Christian Food Ministry, which provides emergency food to low-income and homeless populations; and $10,000 to WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) for their violence reduction team.

Due to the limited amount of funding, the applications from Crossroads Diversified Services for their youth employment readiness program and from About Kidz for their afterschool tutoring program were not recommended for funding this year. Mayor Jeannie Bruins said that she and Councilmember Steve Miller serve on the Quality of Life Committee and stated that the reason those organizations were not selected for funding was because “a very limited number of people would benefit from it and there’s really a duplication of services with other organizations that we already fund” or that already exist at no cost to the City.

Representatives from Sacramento Self-Help Housing, Campus Life Connection, Meals on Wheels, Sunrise Christian Food Ministry, and WEAVE addressed the Council to describe the work they do in the community and to thank the City for providing funds to assist their missions.

Cotter presented the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan, a planning document that guides allocation of CDBG and other federal funds for the next five years. The Consolidated Plan specifies City goals and provides a broad outline of community priorities based on input from residents, non-profit groups, and other City partners. The City conducted a community outreach project to ensure that the Consolidated Plan reflects the community’s needs.

Based on the results of a community survey, the City compiled a priority list of community needs which guided the development of the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan goals: foster affordable and fair housing, provide services for homeless persons, provide services for youth and seniors, provide additional public services in response to current public needs, improve accessibility, construct/upgrade public facilities, and effectively administer CDBG program to benefit Citrus Heights community.

Mayor Bruins thanked all the public service representatives for addressing the Council and for everything they do for the community: “You fill needs that would go unmet if you weren’t there.”

Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey thanked Mayor Bruins and Councilmember Miller for their service on the Quality of Life Committee, stating, “That’s probably one of the hardest committees to sit on. As you’ve heard from these organizations, they all do a slightly different mission, certainly worthy of public funding. But as you can see, we have limited funds and every year it’s the same that we get more requests than money that we have. So, I appreciate you guys narrowing it down.”

The Council unanimously voted to approve both the CDBG 2020 Action Plan and the 2020-2024 Consolidated Plan.