CARLSBAD — Nearly 10 percent of the city’s residents struggle to make rent each month.
As a result, those residents are encouraged to link up with service providers who focus on rental assistance and other programs to assist low- to lower-income residents.
The city of Carlsbad helps those efforts through the Community Development Block Grant Program, which is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
During the Nov. 27 City Council meeting, Carlsbad Management Analyst Courtney Pene reported the city received $568,606 for this year’s program. Nonprofits can apply to receive funds. The deadline to apply is Dec. 28 and the minimum grant for public service is $10,000.
“The intent of the program is to help lower income people in your community,” Pene said. “HUD releases numbers every year and typically it’s individuals who meet the low-income criteria.”
Nationally, the program seeks to provide benefits to lower income people, prevent or eliminate blight and meet urgent community development needs if other funds are not available. For Carlsbad, this year’s focus is on homelessness and assisting those service providers working to get individuals back on their feet.
As for the criteria, an example is an individual who makes $54,000 or less per year they would qualify for the program. Also, if a resident pays 30 percent or more toward rent, HUD considers it not affordable, Pene added.
Another circumstance is those individuals who make 80 percent or less of the area median income.
“What CDBG does, it really provides services to individuals who fall within this bracket,” she said. “It can be anything from emergency rental assistance, funding homeless shelters … and the women’s resource center. Basic needs is really the intent of CDBG — food, shelter, clothing.”
The availability of funds this year include $85,290 for public service, $113,721 for administrative costs, $184,789 for affordable housing, and $184,797 for facility improvements and other eligible activities.
Part of the administrative costs, Pene said, is a contract with Legal Aid Society of San Diego. It allows any resident to obtain free legal services for tent-landlord issues, among others.
Another nonprofit the grant funds have assisted is Casa de Amparo, which helps transition youth who have aged out of the foster system. Recently, the nonprofit became the only facility from San Diego to Los Angeles to serve as a shelter for victims of child trafficking.
Pene said the affordable housing component allows the funds to be directed to future construction costs for those units. In March, the City Council allowed staff to purchase existing and vacant affordable units to keep as stock for city residents.
“The intent for that is to make sure those units stay available to lower income residents,” she explained. “When the city buys those back, the city has to execute paperwork with HUD to say these will remain in perpetuity.”
For information about Community Development Block Grant Program, contact Pene at Courtney.Pene@carlsbadca.gov.
Steve Puterski covers Carlsbad and Vista. For tips or story ideas, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @StevePuterski.