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  8.A.       
Meeting Date: 05/17/2022  
From: Kristine Pavlik, Housing and Grants Administrator

TITLE:
Consideration of Ratification of Grant Agreement:  Ratify the Emergency Grant Agreement with Northland Family Help Center utilizing $75,873.43 of the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
STAFF RECOMMENDED ACTION:
  1. Ratify the Emergency Grant Agreement with Northland Family Help Center for the "Domestic Violence, Crisis and Youth Shelter Services Project" utilizing $75,873.43 of the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds; and
  2. Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary documents.
Executive Summary:
Staff requests that City Council ratify the City Manager's Approval of the Emergency Grant Agreement in the amount of $75,873.43 between the City of Flagstaff (City) and Northland Family Help Center (Northland) for the "Domestic Violence, Crisis and Youth Shelter Services Project."

On October 12, 2021, Council provided direction as to the use of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (Local Recovery Funds). City Council allocated $400,000 to congregate care services, such as homeless shelters, within the Public Health funding category. 

Northland is a local non-profit operating two shelters for homeless individuals and households in crisis including a Domestic Violence Shelter for families and single adults and the Halo House: a shelter for unaccompanied youth. The Domestic Violence shelter offers 24 beds to single adults and families escaping domestic violence and victims of sexual assault and human trafficking. The Youth Shelter offers 15 beds for youth in need of emergency shelter for a variety of safety related reasons. Additionally, Northland staffs a 24/7 crisis hotline connecting local families and individuals with desperately needed resources. Shelter residents are able to “quarantine” and social distance on-site and there are resources and staff available throughout the day and night. The shelters are gender-inclusive and can accommodate all family configurations. Incidents of Domestic Violence have increased throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, and it is critical that victims and survivors are able to find safe and appropriate shelter. 

In December 2021, Northland contacted City Staff and indicated an urgent need for $75,873.43 in emergency funding in order to continue to provide emergency shelter services for victims experiencing homelessness in the Flagstaff area at full capacity and to make physical improvements to the shelter's HVAC system, including the addition of HEPA filtration, as a crucial COVID-19 mitigation effort. These funds will be utilized by Northland to provide emergency shelter at full capacity and will support critical payroll expenses as well as the purchase and installation of HEPA filters for the HVAC system to mitigate in-shelter spread of COVID-19.

Utilizing the City's Procurement Code Manual emergency procurement process and in compliance with the U.S. Department of Treasury requirements, City Staff determined it was prudent to immediately enter into an Emergency Grant Agreement to provide $75,873.43 in Local Recovery Funds to Northland. This emergency funding allocation ensured that Northland continued to directly respond to the coronavirus pandemic by providing safe, secure, temporary, and emergency shelter and services for individuals and families (including unaccompanied youth) in domestic violence, trafficking and/or other safety related crisis and for HEPA filtering and HVAC system upgrades that will directly assist in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the health and safety of those staying in the emergency shelters.

On April 8, 2022, the City Manager approved and signed the Grant Agreement between the City and Northland authorizing an emergency distribution of $75,873.43 of Local Recovery Funds. A Notice to Proceed to expend the funds has been provided to Northland.
Financial Impact:
On October 12, 2021, City Council provided direction as to the use of the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. City Council allocated $400,000 (024-09-402-6321-1-4273) to congregate care services, such as homeless shelters, within the Public Health funding category.

Sections 602(b) and 603(b) of the Social Security Act (the Act) as added by section 9901 of the American Rescue Plan Act, Pub. L. No. 117-2 (March 11, 2021) authorize the Department of the Treasury to make payments to certain recipients from the Local Recovery Funds. The procurement for distribution of the Local Recovery Funds requires compliance with the Uniform Guidance at 2 C.F.R. § 200.317 through 2 C.F.R. § 200.327.

The Uniform Guidance allows for non-competitive procurements where the public exigency or emergency will not permit a delay from publicizing a competitive solicitation. 2 C.F.R. § 200.320. Further, the City of Flagstaff Procurement Code Manual authorizes Emergency Procurement where “public health, welfare or safety would be greatly hampered if the prescribed formal or informal purchasing procedure would cause an undue delay in procurement of the needed item or service.” Procurement Code, Section 19.1(D).

The expenditure of the Local Recovery Funds pursuant to the request made by Northland complied with both the Uniform Guidance and Procurement Code provisions governing exigent or emergency procurements.
Policy Impact:
The emergency funding will help protect public health, domestic violence victims, unaccompanied youth and individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
Connection to PBB Priorities/Objectives, Carbon Neutrality Plan & Regional Plan:
Priority Based Budget Key Community Priorities and Objectives

Safe & Healthy Community
  • Support social services, community partners and housing opportunities.
Inclusive & Engaged Community
  • Advance social equity and social justice in Flagstaff by supporting social services. 
Regional Plan

Goal NH.5. Eliminate Homelessness
  • Policy NH.5.1. Provide adequate resources for families with children experiencing homelessness.
  • Policy NH.5.2. Provide adequate resources for individuals experiencing homelessness.
  • Policy NH.5.3. Support and expand programs that prevent homelessness.
Has There Been Previous Council Decision on This:
On October 12, 2021, City Council provided direction as to the use of the Local Recovery Funds and allocated $400,000 to congregate care services, such as homeless shelters, within the Public Health funding category.
Options and Alternatives:
  1. Ratify the Grant Agreement between the City and Northland for the "Domestic Violence, Crisis and Youth Shelter Services Project" utilizing $75,873.43 of the American Rescue Plan Act Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds; or
  2. Do not ratify the Grant Agreement.
Background/History:
Excess stress from the COVID-19 pandemic, including illness, income loss, lack of ability to pay for housing or food, etc. is linked to an increase in domestic and intimate partner violence. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected those experiencing housing insecurity, and rates of homelessness have increased amidst economic instability. Individuals experiencing homelessness have been found to be at increased risk of both contracting and dying from the coronavirus. Domestic Violence victims that are unable to access emergency shelter are often stuck in violent and dangerous living situation. It is critical that victims and survivors are able to find safe shelter.
 
Due to recent levels of COVID-19, Northland has sometimes been unable to utilize and/or staff all of the available bed spaces. As a result of continuing to operate throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, Northland experienced financial strain to the point that these crucial services cannot be provided at full capacity without emergency funding to support critical payroll expenses. Northland often shelters clients with active COVID-19 infections and though there are some private rooms available, it is still classified as communal living. Because of this it has been recommended that the agency purchase and convert their HVAC system to use HEPA filters for COVID-19 mitigation.
Key Considerations:
Emergency shelter and supports provided by Northland are crucial for the health, safety and welfare of the many Flagstaff residents experiencing homelessness including victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking as well as unaccompanied youth and abused/neglected children. Because of the financial strain from operating through the COVID-19 pandemic, Northland was unable to operate at capacity and provide these critical services.
Community Benefits and Considerations:
In 2021, Northland served 73 adults and 50 children in the Domestic Violence Shelter, when operating at full capacity (prior to COVID-19 related impacts). Northland typically serves 150 people in the shelter. Last year, the youth shelter served 52 unaccompanied youth but when operating at full capacity the shelter typically serves 80-100 youth. The installation of HEPA filtration systems will greatly impact the number of youth utilizing the shelter as the census has decreased due to agencies and contracts placing youth in non-congregate, less COVID-risk, settings and/or youth being required to stay with potentially unsafe placements due to family member fears regarding COVID-19.
 
Northland receives referrals from Flagstaff Shelter Services, Catholic Charities, the Flagstaff Police Department and Victim Witness Services for Coconino County. Northland is contracted with the Arizona Department of Child Safety and Coconino County Juvenile Court and have successfully administered federal grant funds for the past 2 decades+. Northland has also successfully administered City of Flagstaff Community Development Block Grant funded projects within the last 10 years.
Community Involvement:
City Council discussed Local Recovery Funds allocation amounts and categories for funding at the City Council work session on September 7, 2021, and provided direction on use of the Local Recovery Funds on October 12, 2021. These meetings were held in accordance with Open Meeting Law and include a public participation process allowing for public comments. There will be an open and competitive application process for the additional Local Recovery Funds.
Attachments
NFHC Grant Agreement


    

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