Maricopa County Board to consider homelessness prevention funding

Meeting is 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26

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Community improvements, human services, homelessness prevention, transportation system funding and a roadway project are just a few of the important issues to be considered at today’s meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

With an agenda comprised of more four dozen action items, the panel’s formal meeting will be hosted 9:30 a.m. today in the Supervisors’ Auditorium, 205 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix.

Board chairman Clint Hickman — who represents District 4 and will preside over the board’s second February meeting — touted the importance of public participation in county board meetings.

“Maricopa County has a role in everything from public safety to elections to transportation. In fact, we have more than 50 lines of business serving more than 4 million residents,” Mr. Hickman said.  “That’s why we encourage people to attend our meetings or watch them online so they can hear the votes and discussions that could impact their communities.”

The board’s proceedings will be streamed live at their YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/maricopacountyaz.

Videos are typically archived at the site up to five days following each meeting.

Human services

The supervisors will consider accepting grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bolster funding for the Early Head Start Program.

The Administration for Children and Families Office of Head Start has allocated $138,673 to help county officials further their efforts under the program, which aims to prepare children from low-income families up to age five for success in school by enhancing cognitive, social and emotional development, according to the benefits.gov.

“Head Start emphasizes the role of parents as their child’s first and most important teacher. These programs help build relationships with families that support family well-being and many other important areas,” government officials stated.

The one-time allocation will primarily be used to purchase start-up supplies — such as printers and hearing-screening supplies — as well as funding facilities improvements to the Valor on 8th center in Tempe.

The Valor facility provides 45 affordable housing units and five market-rate units for veteran women and their families, some of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or may be vulnerable to homelessness.

In another item, the panel will look at amending an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Surprise to allocate unused program funds and other federal sources to expand assistance to homeowners teetering on the verge of homelessness.

Surprise officials administer the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, a housing rehabilitation program, and the Tenant Based Rental Assistance program, which provides a one-time rental payment for qualifying homeowners facing eviction.

By using federal allocations, the county will potentially increase funding for the Surprise programs by $181,777 with no impact on the county budget.

And in another measure, the board will consider amending its IGA with the city of El Mirage to increase funding for their Community Development Block Grant programs.

Again, utilizing funding from HUD, county officials may increase El Mirage’s CDBG allocation from $425,000 to $500,000. The program targets low-income communities to improve quality of life, according to HUD’s website, hudexchange.info.

“The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides annual grants on a formula basis to states, cities, and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons,” agency officials stated.

Regional transportation

The supervisors will look to extend its partnership with the Regional Public Transportation Authority, Valley Metro, and increase funding for programs, which help vulnerable seniors and disabled people in county island areas of the West Valley and elsewhere.

“The County shall provide up to $1,189,609 transportation costs for services provided in the unincorporated areas of the County to individuals for paratransit and RideChoice services,” the measure states.

The program reimburses Valley Metro for transportation services provided to clients eligible through the Americans with Disabilities Act, who live in unincorporated areas, such as Sun City and Sun City West.

If approved, the measure would extend the program funding period through June 30, 2020.

To boost funding for the transportation programs, the board will consider another measure to seek grant funding from the lottery.

“Request approval to submit a grant application on behalf of Maricopa County to the Arizona Lottery Funds for FY2020 transportation services for individuals with Americans with Disabilities Act certifications,” the agenda report states.

If approved, the ALF grant will add $818,075, which can be spent on service delivery for ADA clients, but not for administration of the program.

Roadway improvement

The supervisors will consider a partnership, which would widen and improve a formerly rural, county-owned road in the East Valley.

If approved, the intergovernmental agreement with the town of Gilbert would share costs of a $2.8 million roadway project, with the county and town going halfsies to improve Lindsay Road from Spur Road from Spur Road up to Layton Lakes Boulevard South.

Now only two lanes, Spur Road would be widened to four lanes with a striped median and sidewalk, along with drainage improvements and installation of a traffic signal.

Gilbert officials would commit to lead the project and annex the roadway into the town prior to construction as part of the agreement.

See the whole meeting agenda at maricopa.gov.

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