On June 14, the Rialto City Council voted unanimously to approve the change to the eligibility criteria for the Rialto Cares program.
The program, which provides financial assistance for housing, childcare, small businesses, ambulance services and funerals, will allow applicants to reapply for additional assistance.
In January, the City commissioned Avant-Garde to help develop program guidelines, applications, and overall program execution. However, of the $2.6 million budget, $1.3 million in unused funds remains in the budget.
“Based on some of the situations that staff have encountered with the program, we are recommending the Council to change the current eligibility criteria for rent, mortgage and utilities. Current criteria allow residents to apply for help only once, and our recommended change includes applying for additional help again, no more than $5,300,” said Deputy City Manager Arron Brown.
Other criteria that will be changed are for small businesses. For example, earlier this year companies had to prove a 25 percent loss of turnover, while the changed standards state that any loss of turnover a company can now qualify for help.
An important item on which a lot of time was spent was childcare.
“What are you doing regarding outreach for the childcare section? I have seen many single mothers struggle with childcare, but we have hardly spent any money. People are struggling not only with gasoline, but also with childcare,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott.
The city’s budget for childcare was $150,000 in January 2022, and as of June 2022, only $13,500 has been spent.
“The application procedure for receiving childcare assistance has been simplified. As long as you can provide proof of payment to the childcare facility or if you have someone to pay you personally, they must sign a form stating that they have received payment for childcare and that the resident will be reimbursed,” Brown continues.
“We contacted all childcare companies that are licensed by the city; a commercial has been shot in English and Spanish and will air next week,” concluded Brown.
Scott urged staff to contact major city companies, such as Walmart, to share information about the utility; and encouraged residents to spread the word through word of mouth. For more information about the Rialto Cares program, click here†