First published in the June 18 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
The Burbank City Council recently allocated about $1.29 million in federal grant funding to homelessness, emergency aid and other services offered by nonprofits and city departments.
The council decides each fiscal year how to distribute its Community Development Block Grant funds, which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides to states, cities and counties. City staff members told the council on June 7 that Burbank received an estimated $1 million for fiscal year 2022-23, which begins in July, but also has roughly $250,000 left over from this fiscal year’s programs.
Among the funded initiatives include $43,000 for a new homeless outreach program with Home Again Los Angeles, roughly $149,000 for roof repairs at the Burbank Temporary Aid Center and $24,000 for Family Service Agency’s therapeutic care program for people fleeing domestic violence. Home Again L.A. said its program will help 50 people, while FSA said it would help 14 participants.
The largest sum, nearly $417,000, will go toward renovating the previous headquarters of the Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley. However, municipal staff members previously said the building, which the city owns, needs an estimated $1.75 million in safety fixes and cosmetic improvements before another nonprofit can use it.
Mayor Jess Talamantes expressed disappointment that the city would have to foot the bill for the fixes, though Simone McFarland, assistant director of community development, noted that Burbank’s contract with the club did not require the nonprofit to maintain the building.
“We have not been a good landlord,” she said.
Under federal CDBG rules, only 15% of the funds can go toward programs. A maximum of 20% goes toward the city’s implementation of the funds and the remainder must go toward construction and economic development.
Because of limited funds, most of the nonprofits did not receive as much money as they requested. Two — Jacaranda Housing and Believe in Big Change, Inc. — did not receive any funds.
Jacaranda had asked for $50,000 for a transitional housing and training program for young women who are at risk of becoming homeless or who are aging out of the foster system.
Marcos Gonzalez, the city’s housing development manager, said the city and its goals committee decided against approving the proposal because the nonprofit had not yet found a property for the program.
Gonzalez also said Believe in Big Change would not receive the $30,000 it requested to provide therapy and career help for at-risk single mothers because not enough participants completed the program.
Other funded programs included more than $15,000 for the Kids Community Dental Clinic, which serves low-income children, $24,000 for BTAC’s emergency aid and nearly $12,000 for the Burbank YMCA’s Social Impact Center. Another $280,000 will go to renovating a pocket park at 250 W. Santa Anita Ave.