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Federal grants see second year of decrease

Of the money Costa Mesa has received, more than half of it is going to help the homeless population.

June 25, 2012|By Joseph Serna

Federal public service grants that Costa Mesa doles out to nonprofits declined for the second year in a row, though the homeless population will see a slight uptick in assistance, city officials said.

Of the nearly $375,000 requested by 17 nonprofits, the city only received $157,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program. The funds were approved June 19 for the next fiscal year's budget.

The decrease — a result of the recession — has both dramatically reduced how many organizations can receive assistance and has lessened the awards of those that do.

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The city's ramped-up attempts to address homelessness, however, seem to have been unaffected by the cuts, with more than half the grant's public service money, about $83,000, going toward that effort.

As such, that money will go toward an outreach caseworker position, the Mercy House — which helps families on the brink of homelessness pay their rent — and Serving People in Need, which provides assistance to drug addicts and the chronically homeless.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, a board member for Mercy House, recused himself from voting on that organization's allocation. Mercy House was the only organization that saw an increase in its funding from the year before.

Costa Mesa senior citizen organizations are seeing less funding than last year and are receiving about $45,000 in all. Community SeniorServ requested $45,000 and will get about $27,500 for meal delivery, and the Costa Mesa Senior Corp. is budgeted for $10,000.

One organization serving low-income residents, Women Helping Women, received $10,000 of the $18,000 requested. Two youth organizations, Youth Employment Services and Community & School Collaboration, received $29,000.

About $7,500 that was slated to go to another youth organization, Mika Community Development, was reallocated to Project Independence to help disabled adults get jobs. A second disabled-services organization, Elwyn California, was given $7,000.

joseph.serna@latimes.com

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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