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Four local nonprofits will receive a portion of the city's Community Development Block Grant funding. Stock photo
Four local nonprofits will receive a portion of the city's Community Development Block Grant funding. Stock photo
CitiesEncinitasNewsPolitics & GovernmentRegion

Encinitas allocates Community Development Block Grant funds

ENCINITAS — The city has allocated federal grant funds to several local nonprofits to help address community development and housing needs for low-income and homeless residents.

Each year, the city receives money through Community Development Block Grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program aims to benefit low and moderate-income households, prevent neighborhood blight and slums, and occasionally provide aid for emergency needs like natural disaster response.

This year the city received $313,360 in grants. Four nonprofit public service providers applied to receive funding: Community Resource Center, Meals-on-Wheels, Interfaith Community Services and Legal Aid Society of San Diego.

The Community Resource Center requested $30,000 for its Homeless Prevention and Intervention Services program, which offers services in financial literacy, employment preparation, food assistance, supportive shelter and case management for low-income and homeless Encinitas families. The program also provides motel vouchers and case management to homeless residents to help them transition to permanent housing.

While the city could only designate a little over $22,000 in block grant funds to CRC, the City Council agreed to fill that nearly $8,000 gap from the city’s general fund.

“To me, that’s a smart investment of our city resources,” said Deputy Mayor Joy Lyndes.

According to CEO John Van Cleef, in the last year, CRC experienced more visits for its services than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past, CRC has either met or exceeded its goals using CDBG funding. For example, last year, the center reached its goal of serving 4,000 visits, while this year, the goal is at least 5,500 visits or 515 Encinitas households.

Van Cleef said the request for $30,000 directly relates to its uptick in visits.

“All of our trends point toward an increase in demand in 2023,” Van Cleef said.

The Encinitas City Council also approved just over $17,000 of its CDBG program funds to Interfaith Community Services for its Bridge to Housing Network, which operates three permanent shelters, including La Posada in Carlsbad, Haven House in Escondido and Operation HOPE in Vista, and two rotational shelters in local faith-based centers like churches.

CRC also works with Interfaith Community Services through its shelter network and case management services.

Meals-on-Wheels of Greater San Diego, a nonprofit that delivers food and provides safety and welfare checks to approximately 75 low-income homebound seniors in Encinitas, received $7,588 from the CDBG program for its meal delivery services.

The Legal Aid Society of San Diego also received $20,000 for fair housing services.

Additionally, the city allotted $42,668 for administrative services, $104,000 to the engineering department for public infrastructure and $100,000 to development services for residential rehabilitation.

Though most of the public generally supported the CDBG allocations, resident Elena Thompson said the plan was confusing and piecemeal, further questioning the city’s need for block grant funding.

“This money is from the federal government, and it’s for communities with slums or to prevent slums, and I feel like Encinitas might be stealing this money from more deserving communities,” Thompson said.

Thompson is also concerned that the city will seek a homeless shelter in Encinitas.

“The city, for all the wrong reasons, is embarking on having a homeless shelter in Encinitas… inch by inch, little by little,” Thompson said via email. “If people don’t activate and join the conversation, we may get what we don’t need when there are plenty of shelters and beds, services already in neighboring Carlsbad, Oceanside and Escondido.”

The city has been part of HUD’s CDBG program since 1990. Cities qualify if they have populations of at least 50,000 or are the main city in a metropolitan area. Encinitas has just over 62,000 residents.

“I think we’re using it the correct way,” said Councilmember Bruce Ehlers.