City of Turlock Takes Charge of Managing Housing Grant Funds to Help Homeless

The City Council voted at the June 12, 2012, City Council Meeting to authorize the City of Turlock to assume all rights, title and interest from the Stanislaus Community Assistance Project (SCAP) Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Grant in the amount of $284,018. The Council also approved to appropriate the money to the “Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Grant Expenses” account, funded by the HPRP Grant.

In 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which include $1.5 billion for a Homelessness Prevention Fund. Funding for this program, called the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), is being distributed based on the formula used for the Emergency Shelter Grants program.

The City of Turlock joined in a collaborative grant application with United Samaritan Foundation, We Care, Children’s Crisis Center, and the Stanislaus County Community Assistance Project (SCAP), which served as the lead agency for the competitive application. The collaboration was awarded the maximum grant of $1,500,000 in November of 2009.

The purpose of the HPRP program has been to provide homelessness prevention assistance for households who would otherwise become homeless and provide assistance to rapidly re-house people who, through these difficult economic times, have become homeless. The funds of this program are intended to target two populations of persons facing housing instability.

First, the program is to target individuals and families who are currently in housing but are at risk of becoming homeless and need temporary assistance to maintain housing.
The second target group is to provide financial assistance to families and individuals who are experiencing homelessness and need temporary assistance in order to obtain, remain or maintain housing.

The funds under this program are intended to target individuals and families who would be homeless but for this assistance. The funds will provide for a variety of assistance, including: short-term or medium-term rental assistance and housing relocation and stabilization services, including such activities as mediation, credit counseling, security or utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and case management.

Up until March 2012, SCAP served as the lead agency for the grant and its reporting requirements. Each of the cooperating entities of the grant played specific roles, depending on the constituencies they serve. Specifically, the role of the City of Turlock Housing Program has been to perform Community Outreach and engagement as well as some pre-scanning efforts. Given the difficulties that SCAP has experienced, the Department of Housing and Community Development approached the collaborators on the grant to complete the expenditure of grant funds.

SCAP, the Modesto non-profit, has been in the Modesto area news many times regarding controversy with management and spending issues.

To date, approximately $1.25 million in HPRP funds has been expended. All grant funds must be expended by the end of September 2012 and may be used for services or assistance designed to publicize the availability of programs to make persons who are homeless or almost homeless aware of these and other available services and programs.
In addition, the City of Turlock will also provide office space in the housing program Services Offices for a Children’s Crisis Center case worker to be onsite two days a week to handle case management and intake.

Interim Assistant City Manager Maryn Pitt claimed that the City would be responsible for grant oversight and participation as it assumes the position of lead agency.

With the approval by the Council, the HPRP funding allows the City of Turlock Housing Program Services the opportunity to complete the original grant and expend the existing grant balance of $284,018 for the benefit of the community.

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