Glendale officials are crossing their fingers as they await word on a federal application for $2.6 million to fund homeless services programs.
Competition is tough as homeless service providers nationwide are demanding $1.7 billion from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to renew ongoing projects, but only $1.6 billion is available.
That means some applicants won't get all the money they've requested, said Homeless Services Director Ivet Samvelyan at a City Hall meeting this week.
For Glendale, which typically scores well on its annual application, the chances of getting the $2.5 million it needs to fund permanent and temporary housing are high when the decisions come in, likely by March, said Samvelyan.
Where the uncertainty comes in is for a new program that could house at least six families in permanent housing.
"I'm about 99% sure we'll get all of our renewals," she said, adding that if the city scores well enough on its application, it could get the extra money it needs to fund the new program run by PATH Ventures, a Los Angeles nonprofit.
Federal officials look at several factors when scoring the applications, including the percentage of homeless people that a coalition places in permanent housing for more than six months, the percentage of homeless that move from transitional to permanent housing and the percentage of homeless that find employment.
Glendale's coalition, which includes nonprofits such as the Salvation Army, Ascencia and Door of Hope, exceeds the federal benchmarks on two of those goals, but struggles with employment.
Federal officials want 20% of people exiting the various programs to be employed. Glendale's rate is 14%.
Samvelyan said local nonprofits will have to work more closely with the business community and the Verdugo Jobs Center, a federally-funded career center for Glendale, Burbank and La Cañada-Flintridge, in order to increase employment opportunities so Glendale can score even higher on future applications.
But the Verdugo Jobs Center is also receiving less money from the federal government as officials clamp down on spending.
Adding to the burden is the fact that federal officials are now placing more of an emphasis on permanent housing, but finding it in Glendale, which is mostly built out and has rental rates beyond what the severely low-income can afford, is a constant challenge, Samvelyan said.
"It's a big gap in our community," she said.
-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News