Estimates: $236K to Paso Robles, $163K going to Atascadero

NORTH COUNTY — The City Councils for Atascadero and Paso Robles made preliminary decisions on where to portion out incoming federal funds from the Community Development Block Grant. 

CDBG funding comes from Federal Housing and Urban Development. Federal regulations limit what the funding can be used for — 70 percent of the total must be spent on low- and moderate-income people with no more than 30 percent of the total aiding in the prevention or elimination of urban decay; 15 percent can be used for public service activities and 20 percent can be used for administrative costs.

Entities or groups applying for CDBG funds from either city had to do so by late October.

Cities must present their plans for the requests to the County, which disseminates the funds. 

Atascadero Public Works Department estimates the City will receive $163,833 in 2020. The amount is a sum of reallocation funds, project CDBG amounts and a repayment of funds lent to the City of Morro Bay. However, grant applications received by Atascadero exceeded $600,000.   

Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno said that difficult decisions will have to be made to in view of the amount the City has to offer and the amount requested by the applicants.

“Typically, what we do in a situation is we average everything, but to average everything doesn’t really help much of anyone,” said Moreno. 

Organizations requesting funding included Atascadero Loaves and Fishes, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing and the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County. The City also requires funding for the Santa Rosa barrier removal and administrative costs on both the County and City levels.

The Council unanimously passed a motion to fund $124,759 to the Santa Rosa barrier removal project, $8,511 to the El Camino Homeless Organization for the operation of the homeless shelter, and $12,500 for youth activity scholarships for the City with the remainder going to City administrative costs. 

Paso Robles estimates receiving $236,185 in CDBG funding. The city received eight applications for grant money, including GRID Alternatives Anna’s Home Solar project and job training, the City’s 17th Street sidewalk project, the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing and the Food Bank.

“CDBG is a one-time chance to do things for places that we normally can’t do,” Councilmember Fred Strong said. 

The Paso Robles Council decided to pull funds from the 17th Street project and direct them toward both of GRID Alternatives Anna’s Home solar projects. The nonprofit operates as a supportive housing program that provides women and their children a safe and sober living environment. Anna’s solar training program is a paid working trade school course for its at-risk women. As a separate program, the students will install solar panels to the nonprofit’s facility.

The Council gave a total of $35,350 to funds the Anna’s Home project; $94,770 for the 17th Street pedestrian sidewalk improvements project; $13,700 went to CAPSLO’s Senior Day Care Program; $3,000 to the Food Bank for food for the homeless; $18,728 for El Camino Homeless Organization; and $47,237 for administration.

The recommendations by both city councils are not set in stone but only serve as an indication of where the councils intend the funds to go. Both will hold public hearings for the suggested distributions in the spring of 2020.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles