Yuma, Arizona - The City of Yuma has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for best practices in using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds during the coronavirus pandemic.

HUD asked the City to present to other CDBG grantees at a nationwide webinar on the City’s use of CDBG allocations for COVID-19 relief programs. Among those was an emergency childcare program for essential workers funded through the City using CDBG allocations and implemented in partnership with Arizona Housing Development Corporation and the SHINE Boys and Girls Center.

Assistant Director of Planning and Neighborhood Services Rhonda Lee-James made the presentation to HUD during a best practices webinar on Oct. 14. The presentation highlighted seven different categories of coronavirus relief response that the City was able to provide thanks to funds from the federal CARES Act.

“It is a huge honor for HUD to recognize the City of Yuma for its work helping the community combat the coronavirus,” James said. “We were able to quickly and efficiently put our CDBG money from the CARES Act to work, allowing our nonprofit organizations to continue to serve Yuma.”

The City’s presentation singled out childcare as a key success story. Once the City became aware of its CARES Act (CDBG-CV) allocation, Neighborhood Services reached out to local nonprofit partners to determine their pandemic-related needs. One such need was SHINE (Sports Helping Influence Neighborhood Excellence), a program for ages 5-12 that operates the local Boys and Girls Center.

The City’s CDBG CARES Act funds allowed the program to resume operations. Targeting workers deemed essential during the pandemic’s early restrictions, parents (regardless of income status) were able to leave their children with SHINE to take part in sports, wellness, arts and crafts, and STEM activities.

The $35,565 in CARES Act funds allowed SHINE to extend their six-week summer program to 12 weeks, covering 40 percent of the program cost. In 2021, the City awarded SHINE an additional $60,000 in CDBG funds designated for public services.

The success of the program, including testimonials from happy children, is featured in a video that was part of the City’s presentation to HUD.

In addition to SHINE, the City’s other CDBG-CV COVID response assistance included:

  • Emergency rental assistance ($745,000).
  • Homeless services, such as equipment, shelter, furnishings and supplies ($240,000).
  • Adult day care, specifically a building expansion for separation ($150,000).
  • Domestic violence shelter, providing equipment, furnishings and supplies ($47,000).
  • Chicanos Por La Causa, for Head Start program sanitation supplies ($15,000).
  • Veterans’ group home, providing rental assistance ($10,000).

HUD will include the City’s presentation in a report they will publish and prepare for Congress.