City Council Approves Funding for New Home Rehabilitation Program

CRA funds will be used for “A Brush with Kindness.”

Written by RANDY SHUN / Published June 20, 2010 (ONLINE: June 20, 2010, IN PRINT: June 25, 2010)

The City Council on Tuesday agreed over how to pay for a new home rehabilitation program: Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds.

Acting as the Community Development and Housing Authority, the City Council on December 15, 2009 unanimously approved the use of CRA low and moderate housing funds to finance “A Brush with Kindness,” a new rehabilitation program sponsored by Habitat for Humanity.

Community Development Manager Joseph Lambert stated that A Brush with Kindness would stretch the use of funding by 35 to 45 percent, according to Habitat. This is possible because Habitat primarily relies on “sweat equity” and volunteer labor.

For example, a $10,000 grant from the City could be valued at $13,000 to $15,000.

In November, the City Council directed city staff to look into funding sources for A Brush with Kindness.

City staff considered three options: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, CRA funds, and general fund. But concluded using CRA funds was best.

“We have a surplus of housing [CRA] funds,” City Manager Jose Pulido said Tuesday evening.

According to Lambert, there were several benefits to using CRA funds.

Higher income levels (or families making up to less than 120 percent of the median income in Temple City) could participate. In contrast, using CDBG funds only qualifies families making up to 80 percent of the median income.

Other perks include less reporting to county or state agencies, in addition to not having to seek approval from the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission.

Lambert also noted that if the City chose to use CDBG funds, financing for A Brush with Kindness would not come before July 1 next year.

A Brush with Kindness is a new program sponsored by the non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity. If both the City and Habitat come to an agreement, Temple City will be the first in the San Gabriel Valley to implement the program.

Following Tuesday evening’s decision, $50,000 in CRA monies will be allocated for A Brush with Kindness this fiscal year.

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