Public Statement of Activities

Serenity House of Clallam County is seeking funds for housing preservation through the USDA to make repairs and restoration to Sunbelt apartments.  In accordance with the guidelines put forth by the USDA and the Certified Federal Register, Serenity House is releasing this public statement of activities for general circulation for a period of 15 days starting with an ad placed in the PDN on June 23rd, 2019.  During this period of time, public commentary on the statement of activities is both welcomed and encouraged.  Please read the statement of activities below and email serenity@serenityhouseclallam.org with your thoughts and feedback.  We will respond to your feedback during the last day of the general circulation period. 

 

(1) Please provide a complete discussion of the type of and conditions for financial assistance for housing preservation, including whether the request for assistance is for a homeowner assistance program, a rental property assistance program, or a co-op assistance program. 

The Housing Preservation Grant (HPG) is a funding opportunity administered by the US Department of Agriculture.  The purpose of this funding is to preserve and maintain low- and very low- income housing units in rural communities with populations of less than 10,000 people.  Funds through the HPG are primarily used for the installation/repair of sanitary water and waste disposal systems; energy conservation measures; repair/replacement of heating systems; electrical wiring; repair of structural supports, foundations, stairs, or roofs; and alterations to the building that create greater handicapped accessibility. 

Sunbelt qualifies as a rental property assistance program offering 16 units of permanent supportive housing rental to the chronically homeless of Clallam County.  Sunbelt provides a harm-reduction model of treatment for Substance Use Disorders (SUDS) by stabilizing clients using best-practice housing-first techniques.  Once clients have been stabilized, they are able to focus on employment, education and treatment for SUDS or other mental health needs.  Sunbelt has been managed by Serenity House for years through a Master Lease with the Peninsula Housing Authority.

(2) Define the process for selecting recipients for HPG assistance, determining housing preservation needs of the dwelling, performing the necessary work, and monitoring/ inspecting work performed. 

HPG assistance is provided to homeowners, historic properties, cooperative assistance sites, and rental property assistance sites in rural communities.  Funding is provided to assist 3 key strategies: prevention of SUDS, expanding access to treatment for SUDS, and expanding treatment options that help people start and stay in recovery.  Applications for funding will be open until July 8th and selections will be made around late September.  Applications are graded on multiple criteria including eligibility, need, capacity to carry out the grant, the number of persons impacted by funding, the percent of HPG funds used for the project, and the percent of funds going to administration costs (cap of 20%). 

Our list of improvements includes major restorations to interior and exterior plumbing, roof repair, and water heater replacements. It also includes major security upgrades, painting and new flooring, and a small number of quality-of-life items. Restoration will primarily be contracted to licensed professionals with minor installations fielded by the Serenity House maintenance team.  This contract will last for 1 year with the greatest activity taking place during the spring and summer of 2020.  Quarterly monitoring standards are part of the contract requirement and will provide the USDA with updates on repairs and spending allocations. 

(3) Please provide a description of the process for coordinating with other public and private organizations and programs that provide assistance in rehabilitation of historic properties in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.673. 

Sunbelt does not meet the standards to be qualified as a historic property in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.673.  As such, we cannot coordinate with the organizations and programs listed above for this restoration project.  This being said, Serenity House will explore opportunities to coordinate with other agencies as they arise. 

 

(4) Please explain the development standard(s) the applicant will use for the housing preservation work; and, if not the Rural Development standards for existing dwellings, the evidence of its acceptance by the jurisdiction where the grant will be implemented. 

This property is an active Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) building for clients earning under 30% area median income (ami), and often zero, who have both a disabling condition and a history of one year living in places not fit for human habitation. 

As PSH, the facility follows HUD Housing Quality Guidelines. Both periodic and move in housing quality inspections are performed using the HUD checklist, Form 52580-A, to ensure the facility and the units exceed the 13 basic requirements found in HUD housing quality inspections. These 13 requirements include:   

  1. Sanitary Facilities 

  1. Food Preparation and Refuse Disposal 

  1. Space and Security 

  1. Thermal Environment 

  1. Illumination and Electricity 

  1. Structure and Materials 

  1. Interior Air Quality 

  1. Water Supply 

  1. Lead-Based Paint 

  1. Access 

  1. Site and Neighborhood 

  1. Sanitary Conditions 

  1. Smoke Detectors 

These 13 requirements are detailed in HUD Housing Guidelines Chapter 10, Housing Quality Standards. 

(5) Please explain the time schedule for completing the program. 

Serenity House will learn in late September whether or not Sunbelt has been selected for housing restoration funding through the HPG.  After the decision is made, it will take a few months and additional paperwork before funding is made available.  It is estimated that Serenity House will start restoration in the spring of 2020 continue working through at least August of that year.  All restoration will be finished by the end of the 1-year contract. 

(6) Identify the staffing required to complete the program. 

This restoration project will largely be undertaken by licensed professionals who have the time and specific knowledge of the work this property needs most.  Smaller installations will be handled by our two-person maintenance team as required. 

 

(7) Estimate the number of very low- and low-income minority and nonminority persons the grantee will assist with HPG funds; and, if a rental property or cooperative assistance program, the number of units and the term of restrictive covenants on their use for very low- and low-income. 

Sunbelt offers 16 units of permanent supportive housing to very-low income individuals, under 30% AMI and often making nothing; who also have both a disabling condition and have spent more than one year living in places unfit for human habitation. This program is available to the minority and nonminority persons of greatest need as determined by VI-SPDAT.  Sunbelt is restricted to housing under 30% AMI for 15 years and under 50% AMI for 50, running concurrently.  This program is in its fifth year. 

(8) Please list the geographical area(s) to be served by the HPG program. 

Sunbelt is located in Sequim, Washington, and open units are available to eligible applicants through Clallam County Coordinated Entry.  Prioritization for housing placement is by assessment, using VI-SPDAT, and verification of history.   

(9) Outline the annual estimated budget for the program period based on the financial needs to accomplish the objectives outlined in the proposal. The budget should include proposed direct and indirect administrative costs, such as personnel, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, contracts, and other cost categories, detailing those costs for which the grantee proposes to use the HPG grant separately from non- HPG resources, if any. The applicant budget should also include a schedule (with amounts) of how the applicant proposes to draw HPG grant funds, i.e., monthly, quarterly, lump sum for program activities, etc. 

Please see the companion spreadsheet regarding these details. 

(10) Please include a copy of an indirect cost proposal when the applicant has another source of Federal funding in addition to the Rural Development HPG Program. 

At this time, there are no other federal funds that may be applied to capital preservation of this rural housing facility.  There are federal rend subsidies, but those funds are not allowable for this purpose. 

(11) Please provide a brief description of the accounting system to be used. 

All expenses are monitored by our business office which tracks and records invoices and check requests through MIP accounting software.  The agency, Serenity House, is audited by Federal audit procedures annually. 

(12) Explain the method of evaluation to be used by the applicant to determine the effectiveness of its program which encompasses the requirements for quarterly reports to Rural Development in accordance with 7 CFR 1944.683(b) and the monitoring plan for rental properties and cooperatives (when applicable) according to 7 CFR 1944.689; 

The primary function of the Serenity House maintenance team is to perform preventative maintenance projects that keep our properties in good condition.  Once restoration has been completed through the HPG, continued upkeep will be performed by this team.  Furthermore, Serenity House will submit quarterly reports to USDA providing the information requested in 7 CFR 1944.683(b) and the monitoring plan according to 7 CFR 1944.689. 

(13) Cite the source and estimated amount of other financial resources to be obtained and used by the applicant for both HPG activities and housing development and/or supporting activities. 

Primary funds for this housing restoration project will come from this application to the Housing Preservation Grant.  Additional supporting funds to pay for restoration will be found through local Community Reinvestment Act opportunities. These are not guaranteed and are estimated to contribute $10,000.00 in funding. 

(14) Explain the use of program income, if any, and the tracking system used for monitoring same. 

As a low-income housing project, program income obtained from Sunbelt is minimal.  Clients pay 30% of their income in rent in accordance to regulations set forth in our contract for the program.  These revenues are used to pay for staff costs, 24/7/365.  These revenues and grand allowances are insufficient, and Serenity House makes up the difference, exceeding match requirements.   

(15) The applicant’s plan for disposition of any security instruments held by them as a result of its HPG activities in the event of its loss of legal status. 

There are no security instruments to dispose of. 

(16) Please outline any other information necessary to explain the proposed HPG program. 

This preservation grant is aimed at a general fix up of an older building so that it will continue to provide safe and stable housing to people who are incapable of self-support for many years. In addition to preserving this housing opportunity for the long run, attention to these housing quality details improves resident satisfaction, which in turn produces better quality neighbors, both inside the program and with the larger community. 

(17) The outreach efforts outlined in 7 CFR 1944.671(b). 

Serenity House conducts outreach on a number of levels throughout Clallam County.  This outreach begins with hikes that our case managers take to meet the residents of local encampments and notify them about our services.  These efforts are supplemented by our mobile FCS and YES! programs which provide case management to Medicaid-eligible individuals and youth respectively.  These programs drive across the county to meet clients where they are at and coordinate with local service providers to increase awareness of and participation in their activities.  Serenity House also works closely with the PBH PATH program to provide outreach to those living on the streets of Port Angeles and Sequim.  With a low budget for advertising, Serenity House uses its website and social media presence to notify the community about events and inform Clallam County about programs offered. 

Lacey Fry