Inglewood to reopen waiting list for COVID-19 relief

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By 2UrbanGirls

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — The city has reopened the application process for COVID-19 relief programs implemented under an initiative proposed by Mayor James T. Butts Jr.

Citing the low number of applications received for the debit card and rent relief programs, the city will move to accept applications from Nov. 6-16 or until 1,000 applications have been received.

In an Oct. 29 email, City Manager Artie Fields implored city staff to “help get the word out” that they were reopening both programs due to low community response, despite Mayor Butts’ insistence the city adequately promoted the program.

“Due to a subsequent round of CDBG-CV3 fund that is anticipated to be received from the office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the low volume of applicants that were received during the first outreach, the city will reopen the waiting list until an additional 1,000 applications are received or funding is exhausted,” Fields said.

During a public hearing held Oct. 20 members of the public submitted comments, via email, which were read aloud by City Clerk Yvonne Horton.

“The city needs to spend this new round of funds to help additional residents with rent relief and allow more residents to apply,” an Inglewood resident said during public comment. “Please use the mailing list used to send out CDBG surveys to residents to spread the word.”

“I am writing to state how we want the CARES Act funding spent. Currently there are only 275 applications who will receive three months in back rent [paid] from funds awarded to the city on September 11 and I am asking the filing period be reopened with Community Room A available for residents to apply,” said five residents in a signed prepared statement.

HUD Manager Roberto Chavez explained the process of receiving and administering the fund.

According to Chavez, the city is required to hold a public hearing to approve a substantial amendment to the 2020-21 action plan and submit the plan to the Los Angeles HUD office for approval which could take up to 45 days.

Inglewood was initially approved for CDBG CV housing funds in the amount of $827,507 and a third round of funding in the amount of $1,035,671 awarded Sept. 11 for a total of $1,863,178.

The city is allowed to use 20% for administration costs. According to the Oct. 20 staff report, the second round of funding was available only to the state.

When the council voted to implement the substantial amendment to the 2020-21 action plan, it passed 4-0 with Mayor Butts noticeably leaving the dais and returning after the vote.

In August, Butts introduced an initiative to create two programs using funds provided for under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the U.S. Treasury Department and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) coronavirus housing funds.

The city estimated that there were nearly 20,000 eligible residents who could potentially benefit from the programs, and would be selected based on a lottery. Priority would be given to the disabled and elderly.

Despite the city’s outreach efforts, a small amount of applications were received which the city addressed during the Oct. 20 public hearing.

“The city of Inglewood advertised on KJLH, newspaper ads, public notices and handed out flyers at various locations and the outcome wasn’t what we expected,” Chavez said.

“We had 248 people apply for the rent relief which pays up to three month’s rent,” Butts said.  “1,278 people applied for our debit card program and will receive a benefit of $1000 up from $500.”

Residents can apply between Nov. 6–16 or until 1,000 applications have been received. Residents are encouraged to contact the city’s CDBG department by phone at (310) 412-8844 or by email dpipkins@cityofinglewood.org if you have any additional questions.

2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood area. She can be reached at 2urbangirls@gmail.com.