Teresa Jackson

The Mesquite City Council approved a resolution authorizing the filing of an application for an amount not to exceed $1,128,827.00 for federal funds under the Housing and Community Development Act, approving and adopting the Program Year 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Annual Action Plan.

Assistant City Manager Raymond Rivas gave a brief overview during the public hearing portion of Monday night’s City Council meeting.

The CDGB expenditure guidelines has a cap of 20 percent for administration and planning activities or $225,765 and a cap of 15 percent for public service activities or $169,324, with a remaining amount of $733,738 for programs, according to the presentation.

Rivas said he received questions as to what the CDBG is.

“It’s essentially some funding that receive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department, where we are given funds to address some issues, mainly in areas where we have to very low- to moderate-income persons,” he said. “We do this through partnerships with some of our nonprofit organizations, city programs, as well as some projects that we feel, as far as staff is concerned, that will make the biggest impact for some of these areas.”

Recommended funding for nonprofits include $10,000 to The Senior Source, $15,000 to Visiting Nurse Association, $20,000 to Mesquite Social Services – rental assistance, $12,000 for Mission East Dallas, $40,000 to Hope’s Door, $30,000 to Sharing Life Community Outreach, $27,324 for Sharing Life’s rental assistance and $15,000 to Summer Youth Internship Program.

Sharing Life CEO Teresa Jackson voiced her concern about homelessness during the public hearing portion.

She said she was concerned that there hasn’t been adequate amount of funding dedicated to homelessness alleviation.

“We are far beyond it becoming an up-and-coming problem. We have reached a crisis state with the number of homeless individuals and families that are now residing in our community,” Jackson said. “You can hardly go anywhere now that you’re not seeing people who are living in parking lots, living in their cars, living in parks. This is a crisis.”

“This is a HUD grant, and part of what HUD does is work to alleviate slum and blight, and a part of that is most certainly to alleviate homelessness,” she continued.

Jackson asked the council to consider this because it matters not only to the people she serves on a daily basis through Sharing Life, but to those not living in poverty because the number of people living on the streets, in their cars, parks, etc. depreciate property value and can also discourage people from shopping in certain areas.

She added that homelessness in the Metroplex isn’t what people often think of when they think of homelessness, such as those dealing with substance abuse, but it’s families, people who are working but can’t make ends meet.

Mesquite doesn’t have a shelter, but what nonprofits like hers can do is put them in a hotel until a bed opens up in a shelter in Dallas, she said.

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