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Housing Assistance Program is Starting to Pay Out

Screen capture of the live stream of City of Alhambra Mayor Ross J. Maza drawing names from the COVID-19 relief aid lottery, on May 11, 2020.


Alhambra , CA

The COVID-19 emergency housing assistance saga is ongoing, but making progress in Alhambra. A quarter of the 200 families are already receiving funding, and the remaining 150 are still being vetted by the city by a cobbled but full-time team.


In April, the City of Alhambra was awarded a $596,000 Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus Fund (CDBG-CV) fr0m the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to be used for coronavirus projects to assist low-income residents.

The city divided the block into two uses: drive-through COVID-19 testing throughout the month of May and to subsidize 200 households’ housing payments for three months.

To qualify for the housing assistance, households must meet criteria, including HUD’s definition for moderate- to low-income at no more than 80% of the area median income adjusted to family size, and have experienced loss of income due to COVID-19.

Nearly 2,000 households applied, and initially, 200 names with 50 additional for the waitlist were drawn out of a rolling drum lottery by Mayor Ross Maza on a live stream in the beginning of May.

If the selection process had gone smoothly from the first drawing, 200 families’ landlords or mortgage holders would have received the first $500 installment before June 1 – then again for the month of July and August – eventually totaling $1,500.

On June 1, Maza again drew more names, this time selecting another 100, saying the city was adding to the waitlist “in the event that it becomes necessary.” Many of the first group drawn in May were later found to be ineligible for the assistance or withdrew their names from the lottery, thus extending the process, Maza said on the live stream of the process.

Current Status

During Monday’s city council meeting, Council Member Adele Andrade-Stadler asked City Manager Jessica Binnquist about the progress of the housing fund distribution.

Binnquist said that the city has four full-time staff members working on the project, and 50 families were already receiving funding.

In an email to the Source, the city confirmed that 150 other households – 71 of whom were selected last week – are still “in process,” and that the city is waiting on documents from them to verify their eligibility.

Three of the four staff working on distributing the CDBG funds are from the Management Services Department and one is from the Community Development Department, according to the city.

The city’s coronavirus emergency housing assistance site has not been updated with specific progress details, but eligibility requirements, also in multiple non-English languages, can be found there.

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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