L.A. County to discuss community development block grants

ALLBRiGHT’s team of painters and volunteers outside of the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center in Val Verde during the 11th annual Paint-It-Forward charity event. Courtesy photo

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors plans to discuss its 2018-19 action plan for community development block grants Tuesday.

This year, CDBG funds available for the county and participating cities in the fiscal year 2018-19 are estimated at $35 million. Of that total, $22 milion is in new allocation, $2.5 million in program income and $9 million in prior year’s funds.

Federal authorities at the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocate disbursements to large governing entities at the city, county and state levels each year. These federal dollars pay for public services, infrastructure improvements and programs to help low-income residents.

The county has a five-year plan for housing and community development that covers projections, but each year specific projects are identified for CDBG funding, said Linda Jenkins, a manager in the county’s Community Development Commission.

For unincorporated areas in the Santa Clarita Valley, such as Castaic and Val Verde, the county’s CDBG funding is essential.

The Samuel Dixon Family Health Center services unincorporated parts of Canyon Country, Agua Dulce, Castaic, Val Verde and Stevenson Ranch among others and is projected to receive $28,702 in CDBG funds, should the HUD approve the county’s plan. The amount has not changed from last fiscal year.

The Santa Clarita Valley Committee on Aging, which also services the SCV’s unincorporated areas, will receive $75,000, the same amount from the previous fiscal year.

All unincorporated areas throughout the County’s 5th District, where SCV is, are also eligible for the Single Family Rehabilitation Loan Program. That program has $900,000 this year and helps provide funds for small scale safety related repairs to single-family residential units, Jenkins said.

“Housing has been a priority, and the target population is persons that are of low and moderate income,” she said of the program. “By far the activity that is funded the most (out of the projects) is particular housing rehabilitation.”

Santa Clarita has $1.18 million in CDBG funds available for the next fiscal year. City Council already approved its Community Development Block Grants Annual Action Plan at the May 8 council meeting, with 77 local nonprofits eligible to receive funding.

President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget for the fiscal year 2018 originally would have stripped all funding for the CDBG program. 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 from being cut by President Donald Trump’s official budget, increasing funding for the program by $100 million.

Federally, CDBG grants are proposed to be funded at $3.24 billion, $235 million (7.8 percent) more than the fiscal year 2017.

If approved by the city and HUD, the funds for programs would begin disbursement in July 1.

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