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Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

City opens applications for affordable housing, social service grants

Davis accepts proposals for community development, housing investment

This month, the City of Davis invited local nonprofit organizations to submit proposals for the Community Development Block Grant and Housing Investment Partnership, grant programs that support services such as “meals, shelter, transportation, elder care services and healthcare to low-income residents,” according to the city’s press release.

Applications from organizations that serve these goals — such as Citizens Who Care, CommuniCare Health Centers and Yolo Community Care Continuum, all of which have received funding in the past — are due to the city by Thursday, Jan. 10. The applications will be analyzed, and recommendations will be made by the Social Services Commission in March.

In April, City Council will decide which groups will receive grants, and awards will be finalized after approval by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which funds the grants.  Through the two annual grant programs,, the city expects to distribute approximately $800,000.

CDBG and HOME funding continues this year, though President Trump has been aiming in the past two fiscal years to cut the grants. Trump’s 2019 budget request eliminates CDBG and HOME on the basis that they have “not demonstrated sufficient impact.”

Experts anticipate that these attempts to end CDBG and HOME will be unsuccessful. Despite last year’s budget request, Congress agreed to increasing funding for CDBG and HOME by 7.8 percent and 43.4 percent, respectively. These increases, however, come after continued cuts. Based on a report from Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C. based think tank, “real-dollar funding for the core program has shrunk tremendously over its lifetime.”

Lisa Baker, the chief executive officer at Yolo County Housing, which has been contracted by the city to manage grants, confirmed this trend in a written statement.

“Both programs have seen declines in funding over time, with the exception of 2018, where there was a slight increase in funding,” Baker said via email.

She also noted the impact of the government shutdown upon the grants.

“Without the passage of the federal budget and given the current shutdown, the amount of funding the City can expect is unknown,” Baker said via email. “Grant applications will be based on prior year allocations as a gauge for potential funding amounts.”

Once the true amount becomes known, allocations will be adjusted accordingly.

Because of a drop in funding in the past, the grants have consistently been competitive, according to Social Services Commission member Georgina Valencia, who noted that the commission has been discussing finding ways to add to the funding.

“One of the things that we hope as a commission is that we can find other ways to garner resources,” Valencia said. “I don’t have an answer on how we would bring those resources together, but [we want] to garner some resources to help with providing more money.”

The commission’s criteria, she said, in making their recommendations has to do with both the size of the organizations and who they serve.

“We’re really looking to smaller organizations which have the biggest impact as possible, and that are more innovative in the way they’re doing things,” Valencia said.

Two organizations that have received grants, the Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee and Davis Community Meals, credit CDBG with allowing them continue to operate their regular programs.

Bill Pride, the executive director at Davis Community Meals, indicated that CDBG has helped with their shelter resource center, street outreach program and Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter, the last of which is a collaboration.

“We’ve been receiving the Community Development Block Grant funding for at least 20 years or so, and it’s been very instrumental in keeping our programs open,” Pride said.

Liane Moody, the executive director at the Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee, also commented on the funds received.

“We use our CDBG Davis funds that we’ve gotten in the past to supplement our food programs,” Moody said. “People in Davis donate food, but we often have to supplement that with fresh produce, meat, dairy, to put in our food packs for people, and […] we use CDBG Davis funds for that.”

She added that CDBG has helped with the organization’s food closet, which is open five days a week, in addition to other food programs.

“I know that we’ve been grateful to have the funds that the city is able to contribute,” Moody said. “It goes to a really worthy cause.”

Written by: Anne Fey — city@theaggie.org


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