In September 2017, Congressman Steve Knight, R-Palmdale, along with California senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, supported a spending package that retained the CDBG program, increasing funding for the program by $100 million.
On Monday, Santa Clarita city officials wanted to say, “Thanks.”
Their efforts to retain the federal Community Development Block Grant program makes a massive difference in the federal funds Santa Clarita Valley officials are set to receive to meet local needs.
President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget for the fiscal year 2018 would have stripped all funding for the CDBG program, which meant cities like Santa Clarita would have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for public services, infrastructure improvements and programs to help low-income residents, according to city officials.
For over 20 years, Santa Clarita has used about $1 million in program funds annually to help low-income families, Mayor Laurene Weste said at the conference.
With the passing of the Omnibus Bill in Congress last week, CDBGs are here to stay for at least another year.
“Without CDBGs, you see gaps in the community — you see people lose things that are basic necessities,” Knight said. “It is something we should do as a community, and something we should do as a country.”
Santa Clarita uses the funds for its five-year strategic plan, known as the Consolidated Plan. The plan examines the state of the local housing market, homelessness and current economy. It currently prioritizes affordable housing, supportive services, infrastructural improvements and expanding businesses and job trainings.
Disabled accessibility projects received over $55,000 during the 2016-17 fiscal year. Housing rehabilitation programs have also received over $1.6 million over the last five years to keep low- and moderate-income homeowners’ houses in good shape.
Nonprofits received $173,510 in the 2016-17 fiscal year and have received over $800,000 in the last five years. Organizations such as Bridge to Home, Carousel Ranch, the Child and Family Center, the Senior Center, and the Boys and Girls Club all benefited from the funding.
The Newhall Community Center, constructed in 2004, also received over $1.1 million in funds through the CDBG program.
Federally, CDBG grants are proposed to be funded at $3.24 billion, $235 million (7.8 percent) more than the fiscal year 2017.
Knight thanked the council for its support but implored the audience, “The task is not done.”
“We have to continue to make sure this happens every year,” he said, “and if we can do more, we should do more.”