Nonprofits can vie for scarce federal grants

CITY HALL — Local nonprofits will now have a shot at roughly $850,00 in federal grants after the City Council this week opened the application period.

For the 2011-12 fiscal year, Glendale is expecting to receive about $3.8 million in Community Development Block Grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Under the funding allocations approved by the City Council this week, local nonprofits will be able to apply for a cut of $515,000 for social services and $332,482 for capital improvement projects.

With local nonprofits continuing to face dwindling donations during the protracted recession, several dozen organizations are expected to compete in this year's funding cycle.

Salvation Army Glendale plans to apply on behalf of its after-school program, which provides mentoring and homework help to at-risk youth, said Rick White, director of social services.

"We charge a nominal fee and some of the families can't even afford that," he said. "So the [block grant] funding allows us to keep our doors open and offer it to as many of the students as we can."

On Tuesday, the majority of the $2.6 million in capital improvement funding was allocated to pre-designated city projects, including loan payments on the $46-million Edison-Pacific Park project and a new, permanent location for Path Achieve Glendale, the city's main homeless services provider.

Also included in the pre-designated projects was about $1.2 million for a new artificial turf field at Pacific Park.

"We cannot maintain the field because it is so heavily used," said Community Services & Parks Assistant Director Jess Duran. "The demand for having it available for soccer is tremendous."

But on Tuesday, council members said they wanted to consider other city projects for those funds as well.

"I would like to see what the other candidate projects are so we as a council and a housing authority can go through them," Najarian said. "I'm not saying that's a bad item, but there may be others that better reflect the council and Housing Authority's intentions."

Council members added that due to the city's current budget woes, they want to open up competition for the $332,482 set aside for outside nonprofits to internal city projects as well.

"I don't see why some of our departments can't go after that money. We are going to be facing the wall in our next budget study sessions," said Councilman Frank Quintero. "I'm not too happy that we've walled off that money to our own projects."

The City Council typically approves final funding allocations as part of the annual budget process in the spring.

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