S■ By Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Reporter
ome strides were made on the community level as the Hemet City Council unanimously approved the 2017/18 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) ad-hoc committee recommendations, securing funds for selected nonprofit applicants.
The CDBG ad-hoc committee, comprised of Mayor Pro Tem Michael Perciful and Councilwoman Karlee Meyer, interviewed all the applicants. Meyer stated that the committee met with each nonprofit, aiming to understand each applicant’s mission and that the committee made its recommendations accordingly. The total amount requested by nonprofits and the City of Hemet, including administration costs, totaled $1,410,831. The amount recommended and approved totaled $811,475.87.
The city based the amount of recommended funds on the amount of CDBG funds the city received last year. Currently, the actual amount of awarded funds to the city is unknown. It was stated during the meeting that due to the uncertainty at the federal level, it could be July before the city has the final number from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), potentially shifting the amounts allocated to each applicant. Meyer stated that “the city can be involved in giving solutions but we can’t be the solution for every single thing.” Meyer has been hands-on with the community prior to being elected in November and has continued her involvement.
Perciful added that there are services that the city does not provide and that the city needs to partner with the nonprofits in order to meet that need. Funding was granted at the Feb. 28 meeting to eight nonprofit organizations and five City of Hemet departments.
Center Against Sexual Assault (CASA) plans to bring back the rape kit program at Hemet Hospital, Community Pantry will use the money for its senior rental and utility assistance program, and Valley Restart Shelter will have an outreach worker dedicated to making direct contact with Hemet’s street residents. The outreach worker will also help street residents enter into a county registry aimed at connecting them with services. Valley Restart will provide the vehicle, transportation and supplies for the outreach worker.
Habitat for Humanity will work on its Palm Avenue project. City of Hemet programs or departments that received funding include Senior or Disabled Home Repair, Code Enforcement, Crime-Free Housing, and the rehabilitation of Hemet Fire Stations No.1 and No. 2.
$150,000 will be set aside for administrative purposes. Money was awarded for sidewalk infill and ADA-compliant ramps, but because the award was so small, according to Nino Abad, city engineer, the funding will be shifted elsewhere.
“My goal into this grant application wasn’t for the Community Pantry, it was to give back to everybody and you did…because we make a difference,” said Jim Lineberger, Community Pantry executive director. “You did because it is needed and, as you said, the city can’t do what we do. We can’t do what the city does. So, when we work together as a community, as a city, as service organizations, as nonprofits, we can make Hemet a better place to live.”
The city’s Senior or Disabled Home Repair Program currently has a nine to 12 month waiting list.