The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday will receive recommendations for the use of Community Development block grant funds in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The recent passage of the CARES Act made additional grant funds available to communities in order to prevent, prepare, or respond to the current pandemic. The city is set to receive $530,744 in funds, according to the staff report.
“Although federal guidelines allow up to 20 percent to be applied toward administration costs, the City will only reserve five percent in order to maximize funding to be disbursed to the community, possibly resulting in City in-kind contributions if excess administration costs are incurred,” the staff report reads. With the reservation, the available funding to be awarded is $504,235, according to officials.
Last month, the council voted to split the funds, distributing 30% to public services and 70% towards rental assistance.
A total of $151,271 is available for public services, which includes programs that provide humanitarian services to low- and moderate-income residents. The services include foodbanks, meal delivery programs, mental health counseling, domestic violence counseling, services for youth with reduced educational opportunities during the lockdown and childcare services. Grant awards range from $15,000 to $45,000.
A total of $353,965 is available for rental assistance. Funds for rental assistance will be used to provide up to three months of emergency rent payments on behalf of low- and moderate-income households that experienced job loss due to the COVID-19 closures and would be facing eviction without the funds.
According to officials, the job loss must have occurred after March 19. One grant for the full amount will be awarded.
Council also directed staff to conduct a limited application process to award funds and appointed a three-member subcommittee of the Community Development and Human Services to review the submitted proposals.
As of July 9, 24 applications were submitted for public services totaling $735,315, which exceeded the available funds for public services. Two applications were submitted for rental assistance.
All applications were scored and ranked on the written application for the following categories, with a possible high score of 100 points: Purpose and need (25 points possible); organization capacity and experience (25 points); program delivery (25 points); and program budget (25 points).
The subcommittee is recommending funding nine proposals for public service. For the rental assistance category, the subcommittee recommends the funding be provided to the United Way of Santa Barbara County.
The council will be asked to approve the funding recommendations and authorize the Community Development Director to execute grant agreements, which will be subject to review and approval by the City Attorney’s Office.
In other business, the council will discuss an ordinance to amend the city’s average unit-sized density incentive program to facilitate construction of more housing units within the central business district.
The council directed staff to expedite certain AUD program amendments in April to facilitate housing development in the downtown corridor and assist in economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The amendments relate to housing density, building height, open yard, parking and the AUD program trial period.
The amendments recommended by the city’s Ordinance Committee include adding high-density with priority housing overlay densities in the majority of the CBD. The amendments also include allowing “unbundled residential parking and a parking maximum of one on-site parking space per unit,” according to the staff report.
The amendments also clarify that rooftop decks can be used to satisfy the open yard requirements.
Also on Tuesday, the council will discuss education, outreach and enforcement on face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday’s meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be held virtually. The meeting will be streamed live at www.santabarbaraca.gov/cap.