Want to weigh in on how Fresno spends millions of housing funds? City asking for help

Janine Nkosi/Faith in the Valley
·3 min read

The city of Fresno is set to receive millions of dollars in federal funding to go toward housing, community and economic development for low- to moderate-income residents – and officials want your input on how that money should be spent.

The Fresno planning department hosted the first of four workshops on Wednesday, seeking community input on how to spend an anticipated $23.7 million when the Annual Action Plan for the July 2022 to June 2023 fiscal year is developed.

“To receive these funds, the city must develop a plan detailing how it intends to spend these funds, and we can’t do that without the help of the community,” said Brandon Sisk, senior management analyst at the Planning and Development Department.

Each year, the city creates an Annual Action Plan for funding from the Department of Housing and Community Development, which must align with the city’s most recent five-year plan, outlined in 2020, Sisk explained.

The city’s 2020 five-year plan has six priorities – including addressing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness, improving access to affordable housing, quality of life and neighborhood improvements, and administering funding for housing and homelessness services.

“I wish we would use this funding to give permanent stability,” said Dez Martinez, who operates We Are Not Invisible, a homeless advocacy nonprofit. “All these shelters are temporary.”

A planning department chart showed that the city is set to receive roughly $11.7 million from various HUD grants, which will go toward low- to moderate-income areas. An additional $11.9 million from the American Rescue Plan Act will specifically target homeless individuals, those at risk of homelessness, those fleeing domestic violence or human trafficking, as well as families facing unstable housing and veterans, Sisk said.

Community members, who spoke during the meeting, stressed the importance of funding homeless services, mental health services, as well as more affordable housing throughout the city.

Martinez said she is concerned about a lack of affordable housing which is causing people to remain in temporary housing for far too long.

“Having individuals living in the shelters for one year is keeping others out, and right now, I’m seeing hundreds more new individuals that just became unhoused due to COVID,” Martinez said about the city of Fresno’s eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent. “And I’m afraid we are going to have more when that moratorium lifts.”

How can I get involved?

Here is when the next workshops will be held and how to participate:

The city of Fresno will also have a public hearing on the community needs.

Community members can also submit public comment on their needs in the following ways:

  • Mail to 2600 Fresno Street Room 3065 Fresno CA 93721

  • Email to HCDD@fresno.gov

  • Call 559-621-8300

  • Fax 559-457-1579

  • Attend the City Council public hearing Jan. 27 at or after 10 a.m.

What’s next?

In March, the city will open a public comment period during which community members can submit public comments on the draft of the Annual Action Plan.

According to the city’s timeline, the comment period will last 30 days, from March 18 to April 18, and will be followed by another public hearing at the April 28 City Council meeting.

The plan must be submitted to HUD by mid-May.

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