Tracking the money: Where CDBG funds have gone locally

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File Photo

Nonprofits across Santa Clarita have benefited from the federal Community Development Block Grants for more than 20 years to assist local, low-income families.

With Tuesday’s approval by the Santa Clarita City Council to submit this year’s updated planning documents to the federal government, 2019-2020 is shaping up to be another successful year in grant funding.

“Each year, the city reaches out to local-serving, nonprofit organizations and encourages them to apply for grants from the Community Development Block Grant program to fund projects and programs that serve the low- and moderate-income community,” said Erin Lay, city housing program administrator. “These organizations know the communities that they serve and are best able to provide needed services directly to residents. The types of projects that we fund each year vary depending on community needs.”

From the average $1.2 million in overall CDBG funds that the city receives annually, nonprofits have received anywhere between $166,000 and $181,000 annually over the last five years. For the new fiscal year, the city estimates local nonprofits will receive an allocation of $188,000.

Nonprofits that have benefitted from the federal program include Bridge to Home, Carousel Ranch, the SCV Senior Center, Boys and Girls Club, Child and Family Center, Fostering Youth Independence and Family Promise. Since the fiscal year 2014-2015, each has consistently received the same or nearly the same amount of funds to cover services such as Bridge to Home’s affordable housing program ($29,400-$31,514) and the Senior Center’s community access services ($48,995-$53,900).

For the 2019-2020 year, the city estimates those figures to remain consistent. And, essentially, it’s all about consistency, according to the philanthropic community.

“These funds are critical in helping people go from homeless to housing and when you receive them year after year, you show the community that you can manage those grants and that it’s worth investing in that organization,” said Mike Foley, Bridge to Home executive director.

Denise Redmond, Carousel Ranch executive director, said the organization, which provides therapeutic horseback riding for special needs children, has benefitted from CDBG dollars for the past 18 years. “These funds enable us to provide scholarships to low-income families for services here,” she added. “Throughout the years, it’s been absolutely essential for what we do to serve our students. It makes a huge difference.”

The Senior Center also receives public services funding, but most of the money it receives goes toward its capital project known as the Handyworker Program, which has received up to $275,000.

Executive Director Kevin MacDonald said, “The CDBG program is a key component to providing funding for our community access program for seniors and our Handyworker Program for low-income families. We are able to send out two trucks and do (home repairs) for about 70 families a year.”

CDBG dollars have also provided more than $55,000 for disabled accessibility projects in at least one fiscal year and more than $1.6 million has been applied toward housing rehabilitation programs over the last five years.

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