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SANTA ANA : Agency OKs Plan for Youth Program

The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency voted Monday to spend nearly $500,000 for a program that trains youth to fix up dilapidated housing in their own neighborhoods.

At its regular meeting, the agency authorized its staff to draft an agreement with the California Conservation Corps., Southern California Gas Co., the Carpenters Union and Central County Regional Occupation Program to implement the program--dubbed YES, for Youth Education and Service.

The funds will be rerouted from an existing redevelopment agency program that provides for emergency or exterior repairs for low and very low income residents and the elderly. But the YES program will focus specifically on the city’s federally designated Operation Weed and Seed area.

The labor will be provided by the CCC, which began recruiting youths for the program last week, said Norm Canchola, a neighborhood specialist with the agency’s housing department.

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In June, 1992, the city received a $1.1-million U.S. Department of Justice grant for Operation Weed and Seed, designed to “weed out” crime in Santa Ana’s roughest neighborhoods and “seed” the afflicted areas with social-service programs.

All the money was spent on law enforcement efforts, Canchola said, so the YES program will be funded with the other redevelopment funds.

“This provides training for the youth and in addition offers some educational possibilities for them, while also getting the maintenance work done that needs to be done,” he said.

Youths will be trained in carpentry, painting and lead abatement, among other things.

The city received an additional $200,000 Justice Department grant last month to continue the “weeding” portion of the program and is now applying for a $300,000 grant that would be earmarked specifically for “seeding.”


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