The Turlock/Stanislaus County HOME Consortium was allocated $5.3 million in federal funding for housing needs and the City wants the public’s opinion on its plan to spend those funds.
“Housing in Turlock is one of my top priorities as the Vice Mayor of Turlock,” said Council member Pam Franco. “I am committed to making sure that we have the best balance of housing opportunities for everyone in Turlock to ensure we are a city where our community can raise a family, work, live, recreate and retire. This council wants to hear from as many people as possible, so that our decisions reflect the will of the public.”
In 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, which provided $5 billion to communities across the country to address the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, public health, governments, individuals and businesses. This one-time funding is administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME and is referred to as HOME-ARP.
The Turlock/Stanislaus County HOME Consortium will receive a HOME-ARP allocation of $5,323,420, which will be administered by the City of Turlock. The Consortium includes the City of Turlock and Stanislaus Urban County, which comprises all unincorporated areas of the County and the cities of Ceres, Hughson, Newman, Oakdale, Patterson, Riverbank and Waterford. The City of Modesto is not a member of the HOME Consortium and receives its own separate funding allocations.
There are four eligible groups of recipients who can be assisted by HOME-ARP funds:
• Individuals experiencing homelessness.
• Individuals at risk of homelessness.
• Persons fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, as defined by HUD.
• Other populations for whom providing supportive services or assistance would prevent homelessness or would serve those at greatest risk of housing instability.
Communities can use their HOME-ARP funds for specific eligible activities, which include:
• Development of affordable rental housing.
• Tenant-based rental assistance.
• Supportive services.
• Development of non-congregate shelter facilities.
• Capacity building and operating support for organizations implementing a HOME-ARP activity.
• Planning and administration costs.
The Consortium developed and distributed an online survey and gathered input from 32 organizations on the housing, shelter and service needs across the community. The number one issue that arose was the lack of affordable housing that is available in the area.
According to the HOME-ARP plan report put together by the Consortium, stakeholders described the rental market as being so tight that landlords can raise rents drastically and set inaccessible screening criteria. Rents are so high that if one high utility bill or unexpected expense comes up, “you're caught between a rock and a hard place…like, ‘I can't afford rent this month,’ or ‘I'm behind on my rent because this happened.’ And that makes it unstable for them.”
Even when people have access to rental assistance to help them afford rent, there’s enough demand for units that landlords can afford to discriminate based on voucher usage; less-than-ideal criminal, rental, or credit backgrounds; or even protected classes. One service provider shared that, “many clients have gone through the application process to obtain their Section 8 voucher but are still having a very, very difficult time finding a place and finding a landlord who's willing to work with them with Section 8. I mean, just with one client, I spent the last six months applying for a unit. And if it's not one thing, it's another, and this is with a Section 8 voucher; I can only imagine without one. So, it's been so hard for a lot of our clients to find anything.”
Stakeholders also indicated there is minimal emergency shelters for families with adult men and/or adolescent boys, leading to families separating across women-led family shelters, youth shelters, and men’s shelters. There are also challenges for people with disabilities and LGBTQ+ folks seeking shelter. Existing shelter buildings are not wheelchair accessible, residents may be required to use top bunks, and congregate shelter providers may turn away individuals who are currently ill.
Services for those experiencing homelessness was also high on the list of needs identified. Based on 2021 HMIS data, an estimated 226 individuals experienced homelessness within Turlock and 4,247 individuals within Stanislaus Urban County. In Turlock, 96 percent of individuals experiencing homelessness are male, 74 percent are White, and 37 percent are Hispanic. In Stanislaus Urban County, 47 percent are male, 71 percent are White, and 49 percent are Hispanic. Seventy-two percent of individuals experiencing homelessness in Turlock have disabling conditions and 60 percent are chronically homeless. In Stanislaus Urban County, these numbers are 34 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
Based on the information the Consortium received from stakeholders, a plan of action was created. The Consortium intends to use 66 percent of its HOME-ARP allocation for affordable rental housing, 13 percent for supportive services, 3 percent each for non-profit operating and capacity building support, and the remaining 15 percent for grantee planning and administration activities. According to the report, this funding distribution will allow the Consortium to focus its resources and capacity on expanding affordable rental housing options. This allocation also provides resources to expand the Consortium’s own capacity to support successful and sustainable affordable housing developments and supportive services for in Turlock and Stanislaus Urban County. Funding will be allocated through a competitive application process open to all eligible entities, including non-profit, for-profit, and public developers.
The Consortium estimates that with no additional resources and an assumed cost of $450,000 per unit, about eight affordable rental housing units will be rehabilitated or produced with HOME-ARP resources. The number of impacted units could increase if other funds are available to pay for a portion of unit costs.
The HOME-ARP Proposed plan will be available for public review, now through March 13. The Amendment will be posted on the City of Turlock’s website at https://www.cityofturlock.org and click on “HOME-ARP Allocation Plan.” Public Comment will be accepted via mail, drop off, or email HPS@turlock.ca.us. The city asks that “Public Comment” is in the subject line of electronic communication, and if mail, address correspondence as: City of Turlock Housing Program Services Department, 156 South Broadway, Suite 140, Turlock, CA 95380.