HAYWARD -- A group that aids the homeless stands to lose a $12,000 federal grant because of paperwork not being filed on time.
Community Action Network sought the grant to pay for a part-time case manager to connect the homeless with resources to get housing, jobs, training and counseling. But a citizens advisory group is recommending the city deny the request because of problems submitting payroll forms.
Hayward distributes the grant, but the money comes from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has strict reporting guidelines, the City Council was told Tuesday.
"HUD requires the city to hold agencies to certain standards," said Sean Reinhardt, Hayward's library and community services director.
Accountability is important, Councilman Francisco Zermeño said, but he asked if the council could fund the network's grant request.
"I would rather not jeopardize helping the homeless and hungry," he said.
Though no vote was taken at Tuesday's work session, other council members did not support Zermeño's proposal.
"We have to stick to our budget," said Councilwoman Barbara Halliday. "I do think this agency does some very good work for people in this community who are homeless." But she said it concerned her that the advocacy group has not met reporting guidelines for two years.
"We have to be careful we don't jeopardize funding we receive because we're not following the rules," she said.
The head of South Hayward Parish, a nonprofit agency that oversees the Community Action Network, later acknowledged problems submitting required forms because of staffing changes and difficulty entering the information into the city's new software program.
"HUD is very stringent, and we did not meet their requirement," Susan Merrill said. "But I was hoping the city could find the money somewhere else."
Several people echoed her request at Tuesday's meeting.
The council and mayor have repeatedly said the faith community needs to step up and do something about the homeless and hungry, said Betty DeForest, the retired executive director of South Hayward Parish.
"We heard you, so we stepped up and established the first and only winter shelter in Hayward so far. It's full tonight," DeForest told the council. "We hope you will step up and help us do what we are trying to do to help the homeless in this city."
In addition to the $1.3 million HUD grant, Hayward also will spend about $412,000 in city money for social services and arts and music grants. The advisory group is recommending that South Hayward Parish get a $5,000 planning grant for a center to provide food, clothing and counseling, and possibly emergency shelter, for the homeless. Its food pantry will receive $15,000.
Mayor Michael Sweeney excused himself from Tuesday's discussion because he works for another nonprofit agency, Spectrum Community Services, that also was seeking a grant to support hot meals for low-income senior residents. The advisory group recommended it receive $21,000.
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473, or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.