Social service nonprofits in Glendale brace for fewer grant dollars

After dealing with a 35% cut in federal grant money this year, nonprofit social service groups will likely have to deal with even fewer dollars during the next round of funding, officials warn.

As of now, the amount of money projected to be available through federal Community Development Block Grants is estimated to decrease by 6.7% in fiscal year 2013, but if planned across-the-board cuts to the federal budget occur in January, the impact could be even deeper.

“We don’t know what it might mean,” said Moises Carrillo, Glendale’s senior community development supervisor said. “It’s up in the air.”

The city’s Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee has recommended a funding plan to the City Council that includes the 6.7% cut. That plan is set to be reviewed later this month.

Social services groups must turn in their applications for the smaller pool of money by Dec. 21, said Commission Chairman Gary Cornell.

“We’re somewhat optimistic that we will be able to handle [the cut] depending on what is the final count as far as the bidders,” Cornell said.

The funding cuts this year stem from less federal funding to go around, but last year that was coupled with new Census calculations that showed better quality of life factors in Glendale, which decreased the city’s share of funding even further.

This fiscal year, which began in June, dozens of nonprofits asked for nearly $1 million despite there being only about $296,000 set aside for social services of the nearly $2.5 million the city received from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

For fiscal year 2013, Glendale officials estimate receiving nearly $2 million, with $277,000 slated for social services.

The dire situation won’t stop nonprofits that frequently ask for money from applying, but it may deter newcomers, said Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee member Efrain Olivares.

“I think we’re going to get the same nonprofits [applying], especially larger ones. Anybody starting some new project probably is not going to look at CDBG,” Olivares said.

Club Jam, an after-school program, shut its doors this year after being dealt a 35% funding decrease. Its allocation was given to other nonprofits, such as the Armenian Relief Society, which fared better than others this year, but may have to cut English language classes for seniors if funding is reduced again.

“I get discouraged when we get funding cuts. I panic,” said Executive Director Sona Zinzalian.

Officials at Door of Hope, a homeless shelter for women and children, and the YMCA of Glendale — which runs the Police Activity League, a boxing program for at-risk youth — said that as the federal government continues to cut social services funding, the nonprofits must focus more on donations from individuals, corporations and private foundations.

The YMCA is raising money as it goes for the boxing program, which faced closure last year. It has about $6,000, but Chief Executive George Saikali wants to roughly double that.

“We’re going to work very hard not to cancel the program,” Saikali said. “This is the reality with the funding hardships going on with the city and with the government."

-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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