City to allocate $1 million in grant money to fund services for low-income population

City to allocate $1 million in grant money to fund services for low-income population

Photo Credits: KAITLYN PANG / AGGIE

Davis starts process to determine division of HOME and Community Development Block Grants

Over the next few months, the City of Davis will give almost $1 million of federal grant allotments to various community organizations that provide services to the low-income population. City officials expect to receive roughly $300,000 of HOME grants and $680,000 of Community Development Block Grants (CDBGs). 

HOME grants, provided by the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department of the federal government, are meant to fund the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing units. The CDBG program is also run by HUD, and these grants are given to cities in order to provide affordable housing and other services to low-income populations. 

Davis Assistant City Manager Kelly Stachowicz said the entirety of each yearly HOME grant is usually spent on a single project. Past projects have included the Bartlett Commons and New Harmony Mutual Housing Community.

CDBG grants are spent on a variety of community projects. In Davis, 15% of the total grants are put toward nonprofits, while the rest are used to enhance Americans with Disabilities construction projects. Nonprofit recipients include Yolo County Meals on Wheels, the Interfaith Rotating Shelter program, Yolo County Children’s Alliance and more. 

Meals on Wheels is a program that provides daily meals to eligible seniors facing food insecurity. Christi Skibbins, the executive director of Yolo County Meals on Wheels, said the program helps seniors “worry less about food” and “feel less isolated and alone.” 

“We know their participation in the program improves the quality of their life,” Skibbins said. “The one meal we bring them each day may be the only meal they get.”

Grant money helps pay for the food and wages of cooks, along with other costs. Yolo County Meals on Wheels, however, is still struggling for funds — 80 senior citizens in the county are currently on their waiting list. 

The Interfaith Rotating Shelter is a program where roughly 15 churches, consisting of a variety of denominations, host people experiencing homelessness from Thanksgiving to early April. Each facility hosts from 25 to 40 people for one to two weeks.

Pastor Jonathan Zachariou of the Davis Christian Assembly said each church provides “meals and a warm place to sleep.”

“And there might be some form of entertainment,” Zachariou said. “By cooperating like this, we try to get as many folks as possible off the streets in the winter months.”

Funds from CDBG are used to pay for overnight support and staff members involved in outreach. Zachariou added that the program is seeking student volunteers for overnight stays to monitor for emergencies. If any students are interested, his email is jonathan@davisaog.org

Deputy Director Robin Frank further described the mission of Children’s Alliance, another recipient of the grant.

“We provide a range of community and family-focused services from assisting families to access food resources via CalFresh to accessing health insurance and medical services needed,” Frank said. “We provide parenting classes and tax return preparation.”

All Children’s Alliance staff are bilingual in languages such as Spanish, Farsi and Russian and can aid students in applying to the CalFresh program. For questions regarding CalFresh enrollment, contact Jose Ceja at (530) 902-6381.

The CDBG grant money specifically funds the organization’s programs such as helping families enroll in CalFresh and Medi-Cal and Covered California. After enrollment is completed, the Children’s Alliance follows up to ensure recipients understand how to navigate and utilize their insurance benefits. 

On a broader scale, Stachowicz summarized the city’s goal of using the grants to keep existing organizations operating and to help start new service programs.

“For the projects that we put funding in, sometimes it can be the difference between them being able to start their project and not actually having a project,” Stachowicz said.

Written by: Eden Winniford –– city@theaggie.org