The Inglewood Finance Department in conjunction with Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts former executive assistant established the framework to create the Inglewood Housing Trust Fund (IHTF) as a way to receive and disburse donations to address the city’s affordable housing needs.
Melanie McDade, Asst. Finance Director Sharon Koike and CFO David Esparza prepared the staff report on September 12, 2017, which failed to go through the appropriate review process before landing on the council agenda for approval. Koike was charged with making the presentation.
Despite Esparza being listed as preparing the report, however, he refused to sign the approval, and of course City Manager Artie Fields signature was forged. This has been a recurring theme of the city’s CFO not signing documents and Fields allowing his signature to be forged. 2UrbanGirls insists that Fields’ signature is forged due to a routine procedure where if someone is signing “for” someone, they use their own signature and write in “for” as seen here.
The fund would receive monies from commercial linkage fees, donations and non-restricted local reserves.
The fund is to “immediately address the affordable housing issues of its residents including rental assistance, one-time relocation and down payment assistance for first time homebuyers”.
Related: The first winner of Inglewood’s home-buyer program is *drum roll* a city employee. The city will pay for more than half of a $600,000 home for the city worker; officials defend her selection as appropriate
The staff report was unanimously approved 4-0. Mayor Butts was listed as absent.
An initiative has been introduced by Mayor Butts to create a COVID-19 Renter Relief program that would issue $500 gift cards, in a lottery system, to assist the city’s most vulnerable and either unemployed or underemployed residents. Butts has stated the funds would come from funds received through the CARES Act totaling $2 million.
Treasurer Wanda Brown and community activists have said the $500 is not enough, and more funding should be made available. According to the language in the IHTF there is funding available to increase assistance to the city’s most vulnerable.
Is the Inglewood Housing Trust Fund set up for residents or as the mayor’s personal piggybank?