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City slates federal funds

Low-income families, youth, seniors and the homeless will be helped most.

May 26, 2010|By Melanie Hicken

CITY HALL — City officials on Tuesday settled on a five-year plan for spending a projected $30.2 million in federal funding for local social service programs, homeless services and affordable housing offerings.

The plan outlines allocations of the funds, the majority of which are aimed at helping the city's most vulnerable residents, including low-income families, youth, seniors and the homeless.

The funds would support employment services at the city's Verdugo Jobs Center, case management and housing through the city's main homeless service provider, PATH Achieve Glendale, and more affordable housing for low-income residents, according to the plan.

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With projections for other funding sources taken into account — including $110 million in federal money for Section 8 rental assistance — the plan's five-year budget reaches $215 million.

Moises Carrillo, senior community development supervisor, said despite the high figure, it "still doesn't meet all of our needs for the city."

Half of the $2.7 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for nonprofit and city social service offerings will be allocated for youth programs, including tutoring and after-school programs and the Glendale Police Department's programs for at-risk youth, under the plan.

Meanwhile, the capital improvement funds, which at $10.8 million represents the majority of the city's block grant funding in the next five years, will be focused on upgrades at parks, libraries and recreational facilities.

The plan took into account an extensive community outreach process that involved about 1,300 residents who ranked crime and public safety programs, seniors and youth programming as top priorities.

The City Council approved the formal plan for spending the money, as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Senior programs will become even more important in coming years, officials said, as the city's population continues to grow older.

"We do look at senior services as an increasing need," Carrillo said.

As the funding projections were based on current funding levels, city officials cautioned allocations could be affected by a variety of factors, including funding shifts or cuts.

The funding will also be affected by the results of the 2010 census because the amount the city receives is based on population and income figures, said Jess Duran, assistant director of the city's Community Services & Parks department.

At last week's City Council meeting, Mayor Ara Najarian urged more residents to fill out the census forms, citing that so far just 75% of residents had returned the forms to the U.S. Census Bureau.

An undercount could cost local governments millions of dollars.

"We are not doing a very good job," Najarian said. "If we are undercounted, these funds will be redirected to another city."

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