Council boosts homeless services

CITY HALL — The City Council this week allocated an additional $165,000 in federal funding to facilitate a new site for the city’s main homeless services provider, PATH Achieve Glendale.

With the organization's lease set to expire in June, PATH Achieve directors last year voted to pursue a permanent location that could better meet the center's needs, such as providing better separation between homeless individuals and homeless families.

The City Council last year approved a $2-million loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the project, which will be paid back through the city’s annual allocation of federal block grant funding. PATH Achieve board President Nick Lam also pledged to raise an additional $2 million in private funds.

So far, the organization has spent $1.25 million to purchase a building near the city's southwest border with Atwater Village. The organization plans to renovate the building to serve as an emergency shelter and access center. The nonprofit has spent another $1.25 million to purchase a nearby nine-unit apartment building to serve as permanent housing for clients who “graduate” from emergency and transitional shelter programs.

PATH Achieve officials this week requested the additional federal funding to help cover the cost of unforeseen expenses, and pledged to raise an additional $500,000 to meet additional construction costs.

“We are matching the city dollar-to-dollar and more,” Lam said at a joint meeting of the City Council and Glendale Housing Authority on Tuesday. “We are doing this to help the less fortunate people in the city of Glendale and hope you can give us a hand.”

The permanent housing project is important, Lam said, because it will provide a housing option for PATH Achieve graduates who may at first be turned away by traditional landlords.

“They have an opportunity to have their own apartment and that is a very important step,” he said. “And hopefully, after that, they can be like anyone else and go to any apartment or housing.”

The $165,000 in federal money — redirected from park renovations that no longer need the funding — will help cover the costs of relocating tenants currently living in the apartment building, which is as required under strict federal guidelines.

Some council members were at first skeptical at the $31,500-price tag for a relocation consultant, in addition to an estimated $15,000 per household in relocation expenses.

“These benefits are exceptionally generous,” said Mayor Ara Najarian. “I understand they are required and there may not be much we can do at this level, but that’s just my comment. I do see it to be very excessive.”

Council members ultimately unanimously approved the funding and lauded PATH Achieve’s commitment to the local homeless population.

“What’s really notable here is that yes, there’s a HUD match and there’s a city match, but a lot of this money is coming from private donors,” Councilwoman Laura Friedman said. “And that’s really exceptional to have people in the community who are willing to step up with their money and also their time.”

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