Community Magazine

Federal Funding Cuts Put Squeeze on Rosemead’s Nonprofits

By Wonder

Federal funding cuts put squeeze on Rosemead’s nonprofitsFacing a severe decrease in federal funding, the Rosemead City Council held a public hearing Tuesday to review and approve Community Development Block Grant funds for local service organizations.

But before local agencies would get their share, it was necessary for councilmembers to approve $92,010 in funding for the city’s senior nutrition program per staff recommendations. What mostly remained in available CDBG funds for local public service programs included $7,328 to People for People, $5,000 each to Family Counseling Services and Family Promise, and $1,000 each to the Rosemead School District and Rosemead High School.

According to Mayor Sandra Armenta, local organizations were fully aware of the drastic cuts in federal programs that would reduce money for many previously funded activities in Rosemead.

“The various service organizations were grateful for what awards they could get – even though not given the amount they asked for,” she said. “And they also understood how much of a percentage had to be given to the senior nutrition program.”

The City of Rosemead was notified by HUD that it would be receive a 34.25 percent cut to its current $1,037,683 allocation of CDBG funds and a 52.39 percent cut to its current $480,683 HOME Investment Partnerships funds allocation. This boils down to a total reduction of $682,256 in CDBG funds and $228,955 in HOME funds for fiscal year 2012-2013.

At a previous meeting, Michelle Ramirez, Rosemead’s acting director of Community Development, made recommendations from a list of eight staff-endorsed projects with a total of $268,355 in requests. Although many community organizations tried hard to voice a need for their programs at the Feb. 14 public hearing, Ramirez was forced to work within the limits of a $102,338 allocation for these social service programs.

Requesting $93,010 from the 2012-2013 Social Services Budget, the Senior Nutrition Lunch Program remains the only service that would be granted its full funding request. The program, currently hosted at both the Garvey Community Center and the Rosemead Community Recreation Center, offers lunch to seniors with a requested donation of $1.25 for residents and $3.00 for non-residents.

Though the program is facing a $48,000 deficit and its operations will need to be consolidated to a single location, funding for the program is actually a bit more complicated due to federal cap restrictions, according to Ramirez.

“The total amount to fund the (senior) program for the upcoming fiscal year will be $206,380, of which $93,010 will come from CDBG out of the Social Services (activity) cap,” Ramirez reported at the Apr. 2 meeting, explaining that an extra $4,700 will come from CDBG funds under the Planning and Administrative services cap. This means that the city’s General Fund will have to make up the difference by contributing $108,670.

But local social service programs took an extraordinary hit when considering the funds requested. Family Counseling Services, which uses CDGB funds to offer family counseling and a variety of other services to Rosemead families, initially received a recommendation for $6,000 even though it had requested $40,000. Family Promises, a first-time applicant that provides local homeless services, was recommended $5,000 after requesting $10,000. People for People, a San Gabriel food bank, received $7,328 after requesting $27,345.

Responding to the drastic decrease in federal funds and its impact on Rosemead’s community, the City Council discussed a possible solution to future CDGB shortcomings at Tuesday’s meeting. According to Armenta, Councilmember Steven Ly suggested the city create a type of community foundation to provide funding support for local service agencies.

“It was Steven’s suggestion that we have some kind of community-based foundation to raise funds for these organizations that help our community,” she said. “Whatever we could do to help them, we’re going to work at that.”

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