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Stimulus Funding Helps Nonprofits Help Those in Need

Community Action Commission and its partners use $874,000 grant to save jobs and provide food and services

A community services block grant of about $874,000 in stimulus funds that went to Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County in October 2009 created 20 new jobs and saved another 22 jobs in Santa Barbara County.

The agency and its 14 local nonprofit partners used the stimulus money to provide food to more than 55,000 people, career training for 90 adults, job placement assistance to 38 disabled adults and disadvantaged youths, legal services to 150 people, academic and career counseling to 600 low-income college students, and tax preparation assistance for 1,300 low-income families. Another 2,300 families received crisis intervention, health insurance enrollment assistance, or transportation services.

The Community Action Commission passed a combined $515,000 in funding along to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, the Guadalupe Family Services Center, the Pacific Pride Foundation, the Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara, Isla Vista Youth Projects, Child Abuse Listening & Mediation, PathPoint, Santa Barbara Partners in Education, Lompoc Unified Adult Education, Cuyama Christian Academy, North Santa Barbara County United Way, the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County and Allan Hancock College Foundation.

The remaining funds supported CAC programs for families and at-risk youths, including Los Compadres/Las Comadres, the Independent Living Program, Enhanced Family Reunification and Front Porch.

“Working with partner agencies enabled CAC to spread stimulus funds to every corner of the county and provide more services, to more people, than would have been possible for a single agency working alone,” CAC Executive Director Fran Forman said.

The community services block grant represents a small portion of the more than $217 million in stimulus funds that have come into Santa Barbara County in the past 15 months, but these funds have made a big difference to low-income people throughout the county.

David Selberg, executive director of the Pacific Pride Foundation, praised the partnership formed among Santa Barbara nonprofits.

“This model allowed us to cut through the red tape and provide food and other basic necessities to people who are suffering not only from the effects of HIV but also from the effects of the recession,” he said.

The stimulus funding has been a lifesaver for Bill Taylor, who has battled both HIV and cancer. “I probably couldn’t have survived without the Pacific Pride Food Pantry,” he said.

CSBG ARRA funding ended Sept. 30.

Click here for more information about the Community Action Commission.

— Holly Carmody is a management specialist with the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County.

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