Council hears groups’ requests for grant funds

CARLSBAD — Social service agencies that provide for Carlsbad’s low-income residents spoke to City Council on April 5, reinforcing their proposals for the city’s financial assistance to keep their programs available to the community.
City staff is currently developing Carlsbad’s annual funding plan for 2011-2012, which includes the allocation of federal funding used to serve the needs of low-income residents. Local agencies were asked to submit funding proposals for consideration.
A seven-member committee was selected to review applications from the local agencies and recommend proposals for funding to council. Council listened to the requests Tuesday night and is expected to vote on the proposals later this month.
“The committee had a difficult time in developing their recommendations because adequate funds are not available to help them all,” senior analyst Frank Bench said. “They selected those that provide services to the largest number of Carlsbad residents.”
Carlsbad is eligible to receive federal funding through the Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, which is used to finance activities that serve the needs of low-income residents and develop viable communities, Bench said.
While the federal budget for CDBG funding has not yet been approved, staff adjusted the allocation numbers to reflect an anticipated decrease in funds, Bench said.
“It seems likely that there will be a reduction in funding,” Bench said. “The recommended amounts will likely need to be adjusted again based on the federal budget.”
As a member of San Diego County’s HOME consortium, Carlsbad is also slated to receive HOME Investment Partnership funds, which help finance projects to provide affordable housing, Bench said.
Requests poured in from agencies around North County that provide assistance to Carlsbad’s low-income and at-risk residents. Services ranged from a food bank to equestrian therapy, as well as affordable housing for those with disabilities.
Representatives from many of the organizations that submitted proposals spoke during public comment to further explain what the funding could be used to accomplish.
“We provided counseling for Kelly (Elementary) after the shooting,” Debbie Shriver, North County Lifeline’s Director of Counseling, said. “We’re still doing counseling; it shows the vulnerability and that the need is so great.”
Reginald Washington of From the Inside Out/AWARE Program, which targets at-risk youth, brought several participants to explain what their program is about and why it’s important to them.
“We know it’s a very hard and challenging time, but we have kids that are overcoming the odds and excelling at what they do – they’re becoming great kids.”
Staff is expected to present its final recommendations for the 2011-2012 Community Development Block Grant funds to council for approval at its April 26 meeting. The spending plan will then be submitted to the federal government, Bench said.

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