HUD funds will help 10 nonprofits

FUNDING A NEED—Senior Concerns is the beneficiary of $15,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money and $10,000 from the general fund. The nonprofit is running two critical meal programs. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

FUNDING A NEED—Senior Concerns is the beneficiary of $15,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant money and $10,000 from the general fund. The nonprofit is running two critical meal programs during the pandemic. RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

In typical years, grants provided by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development are a huge boost to the city’s nonprofits and social services agencies, allowing them to complete projects that would otherwise linger until reserves became available.

This summer, they’re more like a life raft.

At its May 12 meeting, the Thousand Oaks City Council doled out around $615,000 in HUD money to 10 local nonprofits, $578,000 from this year’s allocation and $37,000 left over from last year.

Still, not every nonprofit got what it wanted—a sign that social services agencies, like businesses, are struggling to keep afloat during the pandemic.

Annually, the federal government distributes funds to states, counties and local governments to benefit low-income residents and to support community development activities directed toward neighborhood revitalization, economic development and improved community facilities and services.

The bulk of this year’s funds will be split between two low-income housing complexes—$258,000 to replace 300 single-pane windows at Many Mansions’ Bella Vista Apartment complex on Los Feliz Drive with energy-efficient dual-pane windows, and $156,000 for Habitat for Humanity to rehab 10 mobiles homes in the city.

“Bella Vista was built 50 years ago and is one of our nine Thousand Oaks properties,” said Doug Menges, vice president of real estate for Many Mansions, a nonprofit homebuilder and property manager. “We acquired Bella 15 years ago with the city’s help and have maintained it in good condition.”

Federal regulations allow the city to use up to 20% of the annual grant to recover its administrative costs to carry out the program. Staff members anticipate program administration will cost about $116,000.

The remainder of the funds was split between eight of the 14 service agencies that applied.

Those receiving a share of $87,000: Conejo Free Clinic’s medical and dental services, $15,000; Lutheran Social Service’s emergency assistance program, $15,000; St. Vincent de Paul/St. Pachal’s assistance to the needy program, $12,000; Turning Point Foundation’s Our Place Safe Haven, $11,000; the County of Ventura’s RAIN facility, $8,000; Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurse Association’s subsidized care program, $5,000; United Cerebral Palsy’s community access program, $5,000; and Senior Concerns’ Meals on Wheels, $15,650.

Later in the meeting, the council voted to give Senior Concerns an additional $10,000 from the city’s general fund in response to an emergency request from the organization, which has had to close its adult day care program while at the same timing doubling its Meals on Wheels efforts.

“The Meals on Wheels program is especially beneficial to homebound seniors and now those seniors over the age of 60 who are staying at home due to COVID-19,” Deputy City Manager Gary Rogers said in his written report to the council.

The number of people served has risen and is expected to continue to do so as the pandemic continues, Rogers wrote.

Janet Young, director of development for Senior Concerns, revealed what that increase has looked like so far.

“When we wrote this grant (application), we had no idea how much the need for Meals on Wheels program would grow,” said Young, noting an 87% increase with more than 5,000 meals delivered to homebound seniors and others per month.

“Funding from the City of Thousand Oaks will help ensure Senior Concerns can continue to provide this valuable service and help ensure the health of our senior community in the coming year,” Young said. “As you probably know, for seniors age 70-plus, the stay-at-home guidelines are probably going to stay in effect for most of this year. That’s what we’re anticipating.”

The city is expecting a second round of CDBG funds to become available via the CARES Act, the recently passed federal economic assistance program enacted in response to the COVID crisis, said City Manager Drew Powers. The city is looking into the possibility of using that money for business assistance, he said.