On June 14th, Rialto City Council unanimously voted to approve eligibility criteria amendments to the Rialto Cares Program.
The program, which provides monetary assistance for housing, childcare, small businesses, ambulance support services, and burial, will allow applicants to reapply for additional aid.
In January, the city commissioned Avant-Garde to assist with developing program guidelines, applications, and the overall implementation of the programs. However, out of the $2.6 million budget, $1.3 million of unused funds remains in the budget.
“Based on some of the situations that staff has encountered with the program, we’re recommending that the Council considers amending the current criteria and eligibility of rental, mortgage, and utility assistance. The current criteria only allow residents to apply for the assistance once, and our recommended amendment includes reapplying for additional assistance, not to exceed $5,300,” said Deputy City Manager Arron Brown.
Other criteria that are being amended are for small businesses. For example, earlier this year, businesses had to prove a 25 percent revenue loss, while the amended standards state that any revenue loss may now qualify a company for assistance.
A significant item that much time was spent on was childcare.
“What are you guys doing regarding outreach for the childcare portion? I’ve seen a lot of single moms struggling with childcare, yet we’ve hardly spent any money. People are not only struggling with gas, but they’re struggling with childcare too,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ed Scott.
The city’s budget for childcare assistance was $150,000 in January 2022, and as of June 2022, only $13,500 has been expended.
“The application process for receiving assistance for childcare is simplified. As long as you can provide a receipt of payment to daycare or if you have someone you pay personally, they have to sign a form saying that they received payment for childcare and the resident will be reimbursed,” continued Brown.
“We did outreach to all the childcare businesses that have a license with the city; a commercial was recorded in English and Spanish, which will be airing next week,” concluded Brown.
Scott urged staff to reach out to large businesses in the city, such as Walmart, to share information regarding the assistance program; and encouraged residents to spread the word via word of mouth. For more information on the Rialto Cares Program, click here.