Funding Being Explored for New Rehabilitation Program

City could use CDBG or CRA funds for A Brush with Kindness

Written by RANDY SHUN / Published March 23, 2010 (ONLINE ONLY)

With the City Council in firm agreement about a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, city officials on Tuesday, November 17, 2009, directed city staff to look for funding sources for a new rehabilitation program, A Brush with Kindness.

A Brush with Kindness is one of a few rehabilitation programs sponsored by Habitat, a non-profit organization.

The San Gabriel Valley affiliate is currently in the process of testing out the program. If the City signs on to A Brush with Kindness, Temple City would be the first in the region to implement the program.

Excluding the new rehabilitation program, Temple City has two other home rehabilitation programs: the Handyworker Grant Program and the Home Improvement Loan.

“A program such as [A Brush with Kindness] could augment our existing programs,” Community Development Manager Joseph Lambert said on Tuesday.

When asked what funding sources Temple City has available, Lambert responded that the City could use existing community redevelopment agency and/or community development block grant monies. Staff was also exploring other funding sources he said.

Lambert further explained that Habitat would be able to squeeze an extra 25 to 35 percent out of the money the city allocates. This is possible because Habitat mainly relies on “sweat equity” and volunteer labor.

Again, Damien Allen, a representative of Habitat for Humanity, was present to answer questions related to the program.

The director of corporate and community sponsors promoted A Brush with Kindness, saying it would build leadership skills in addition to teaching families how to maintain their home on their own.

“We’re going to make sure that the family can eventually maintain their home on their own,” he said.

To reassure the quality of the non-profit organization’s work, Allen noted that Habitat’s products have been on par with professional services.

“We feel that the product we provide is on par with any professional rehabilitation programs,” he commented.

Temple City Councilwoman Cynthia Sternquist, a leading proponent of working with Habitat, lauded the program.

The program, along with a farmers’ market, would help “build community,” Sternquist said.

A concern was raised about whether A Brush with Kindness would decrease the amount of funding for the City’s two other rehabilitation programs.

But city staff and Sternquist stated it would not deeply impact other programs.

“We would not be significantly decreasing the pool of handyworker grants and home improvement loans,” Lambert said.

“It’s actually a win-win situation,” Sternquist noted, “because the people that are profiting from the handyworker program are those that are most in need of the resources and the resources will go further.”

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