Tuesday, May 31 , 2016, 7:21 pm | Mostly Cloudy 58º

Santa Barbara Council OKs $1.46 Million in Grant Funding to Support Nonprofit, Homelessness Services

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

The Santa Barbara City Council approved $1.46 million in grant funding Tuesday night between federal Community Development Block Grant money and general fund Human Services money.

There are strict criteria for the federal Housing and Urban Development money, which totals $788,961 for the 2014-15 year. It can be spent on programs providing decent housing, suitable living and expanded economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income people, according to Liz Stotts, the city’s CDBG programs specialist.

Added to that is the city’s money, and the City Council approved a 2 percent increase in grants for this year to a total of $640,821.

The Community Development and Human Services Committee combs through applications every year to analyze each agency’s finances and performance. Members do site visits and interviews for every applicant as well, and their recommendations are usually approved by the council.

This year was no exception, and the council unanimously voted to fund 45 agencies (mostly nonprofit organizations) and six capital improvement projects at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council’s top priority is programs that provide basic needs or reduce the impacts of homelessness and gang violence in the community, Stotts said.

The Casa Esperanza Homeless Center was given $102,500 for its shelter and jail discharge program. Last fall, the center eliminated its Community Kitchen and day-center services, as well as making its shelter services available only for sober residents.

In March, the board laid off the executive director and associate executive director to cut back on operating costs.

None of the city’s grant money will be going to management salaries, but will help support the shelter’s basic functions, board member Rob Pearson said.

In the absence of leadership, board member Bob Bogle stepped up to serve as executive director for free, and he thanked the council for making the funding available.

The Independent Living Resource Center has been funded through the grant program for the past 25 years but wasn’t recommended this year. Staff and board members asked the City Council to reconsider their request for $49,000. Last year, they were awarded $13,500 by the city.

Business manager Jennifer Griffin asked for more communication during the selection process, saying they never got to address the committee’s concerns.

Committee members were concerned the organization wasn’t doing independent fundraising, but the ILRC is working to increase fundraising by 50 to 100 percent every year, with a goal of $37,000 for next year, board member Larry LaBorde said. The organization serves the Tri-County area.

“We’re certainly rookies at fundraising,” he said.

Two councilmen wanted to give the ILRC a few thousand dollars as a gesture, to help them in private fundraising, but there wasn’t support from the rest of the City Council.

The grant committee’s recommendations were unanimously approved by the council.

“I feel like (the ILRC) issues are valid and we’re not providing the leverage that we could for that organization to fundraise and hit these ambitious targets,” Councilman Bendy White said. “It’s just, here we are in a time and history when the safety net is fraying every day and it breaks my heart, and I know it breaks the hearts of many of us in this room.”

The council also funded six capital projects: rehabilitating the Westside Center’s restroom; installing access ramps on Voluntario Street; remodeling the Girls Inc. restroom; contributing to the roof replacement of the Westside Neighborhood Clinic; self-employment training through Women’s Economic Ventures; and a Parks & Recreation renovation at the Parque de los Niños.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.


Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.