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This week at City Hall

A photo of the entrance to Riverside City Hall.
City Hall in Downtown Riverside
The Raincross Gazette
1 p.m. Session

The council is being asked to approve the 2021-2022 Annual Action Plan, a strategy to distribute $8.2 million in federal funding from four housing-focused grants.

Prepared by the Community and Economic Development Department (CEDD), the plan determines how the city will distribute the funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which disburses annual funding to several entitlement cities, including Riverside.

The four grants represented in the $8.2 million include the Community Development Block Grant, the Emergency Solutions Grant, the grant for Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids and the HOME Investments Partnership Program. The funding allocated to Riverside is based on the city’s population and is for the benefit of the low-to-moderate income population.

Michelle Guzman, CEDD project manager, managed the Annual Action Plan development. She said the city has received these grants from HUD for close to 30 years and the department has prioritized community involvement to decide how the funds would be allocated across housing initiatives.

“It’s important, I think, that the funds focus on helping those that are less fortunate,” Guzman said. “[These grants] are about making people self-sufficient. It’s not a band-aid solution. It’s about helping people long-term and the right people.”

6:15 p.m. Session

The council will hear a presentation on the state of innovation and job growth in the Inland Empire from University California at Riverside’s (UCR) Center for Social Innovation.

Karthick Ramakrishnan, UCR Professor of Public Policy and Director for the center, will give the presentation to the council. According to Ramakrishnan, job postings in the innovation sector throughout the Inland Empire have risen by 88 percent since 2016. Agricultural, biotech and natural resource technologies are among the few industries he wants to highlight in the presentation.

“We have an amazing array of research activities that happen in these areas,” he said. “We have a big opportunity when it comes to accelerating clean energy and transportation.”

Pointing to the Biden administration and California government investment priorities, clean technology is the field Ramakrishnan believes should be the investment on the rise.

“We have the opportunity to create a very different future for our children and grandchildren, making the Inland Empire a better place to live and creating the kinds of jobs that will diversify our economy and produce the kind of high priority jobs we so desperately need,” he said.