The Coast News Group

Cuts in federal grant leave local nonprofits short on funds

OCEANSIDE — The city of Oceanside received 27 percent less in federal Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, funds this year and in turn will not fund eight public service programs that received those funds last year.Annual CDBG funds received by the city dropped from $1.6 million to $1.18 million. Of that amount, strict guidelines only allow 15 percent of the funds, or $183,800, to support public service programs.

“Interfaith (Community Services) and Ivey Ranch (Park Association) that received $75,000 in 2011-2012 will not get anything next year,” John Lundblad, management analyst, said.

While CDBG funds usually make up 10 percent or less of service programs budgets, the funds also show city support and count as matching grant funds for programs.

Brother Benno Foundation, North County Health Services, and S.U.N Neighborhood Cleanup Activities are among the programs that will not receive CDBG funds in 2012-2013.

“Will it close programs down? No,” Lundblad said. “Will it have an impact? Yes.”

The Community Resource Center, Park and Recreation Teens, and Oceanside Senior Citizens Association are among the seven programs that will receive funds.

“The programs are very critical in maintaining balance in the community,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said. “They’re really phenomenal programs and phenomenal people. We need this connection.”

The Community Resource Center will receive $93,000 to fund two staff members at its Crown Heights and Eastside neighborhood locations. The resource centers serve as community hubs to connect residents with health and social services.

“Brother Benno uses the resource centers to distribute food, and the neighborhood association held a meeting there after the (recent) shooting,” Lundblad said.

The purpose of the funds is to improve neighborhoods and prevent slum and blight.

In addition to funding public service programs, housing rehabilitation efforts and CDBG administration and planning costs are covered by annual CDBG funds.

To support housing rehabilitation, $355,000 will go to adding three additional code enforcement officers in the Crown Heights, Calle Montecito and Libby Lake neighborhoods. The additional officers will help “clean up” neighborhoods by proactively addressing unreported code violations.

“The idea is neighborhoods deteriorate when there are broken windows, trash accumulation, minor things,” Lundblad said. “They keep working to push neighborhoods to become better.”

Lundblad said he expects funds to continue to decrease. He added that the city plans to adjust by eliminating a management analyst position that is paid for with CDBG funds.