Atascadero council approves funding to local nonprofits
Community Development Block Grant money goes to barrier removal, youth scholarships, Loaves & Fishes, homeless shelter
The Atascadero City Council approved 5-0 the 2015 Community Development Block Grant funds at Tuesday’s regular city council meeting. Atascadero will receive $173,366 in federal funds from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. More than $100,000 of that money will go to handicapped accessibility barrier removal projects. A total of $23,119 will go to public services. Allocations to public services are limited to 15 percent of the total funding.
The purpose of the grant block funds is to accomplish the following objectives:
- Benefit low and moderate-income persons
- Aid in the prevention or elimination of blight
- Address urgent needs that pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community
Funding allocations for the 2015 Community Development Block Grants
- Public facilities: handicapped accessibility/barrier removal projects $100,181
- Public services: youth activity scholarships through the city of Atascadero $8,000
- Public services: Atascadero Loaves & Fishes $8,000
- Public services: El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) $7,119
- Administration: city program administration costs $10,789
- Administration: county program administration costs $20,036
- 2013 re-allocation: city of Atascadero barrier removal projects $19,241
According to Atascadero Public Works Director Nick DeBar, there were two important changes to the grant funding this year that affected the programming to funds:
1. The federal organization that allocates the funds, the HUD, recommended that the county provide monitoring and oversight for all community development block grants. The county will get 13 percent of the total grant funds to administer the grants. The maximum allowance of allocation is 20 percent of the total funds.
2. The minimum funding amount for public service activities is $8,000. DeBar said that HUD is now requiring a higher level of monitoring of all grant activities that will require a lot more administrative staff time for each awarded grant than previously required. The reason, DeBar said, that ECHO is able to get less than the $8,000 minimum is because there is a stipulation that allows programs to get less if another agency in the county commits to programming the remainder to equal at least $8,000. At its March 3 meeting, the Paso Robles City Council granted ECHO $28,720.
“It’s very tough so have to have so little funds to give to the organizations that help the most needy,” Atascadero Mayor Tom O’Malley said.
“I think its unique and very, very special that we’ve had two [municipal boards] come together and recognize the homeless services,” ECHO Executive Director Bill Watt said.
The council had approved the draft funding recommendations at its Dec. 9 meeting, but since that time the 2015 allocations were determined with Atascadero getting $22,411 more than the original estimate.