City council approves community development block grants to help local programs
May 25, 2017 03:38PM ● Published by Kelly Cannon
Several nonprofits and public service programs across Sandy received funding after the Sandy City Council approved over $366,000 in community development block grants (CDBG). The grants were approved during the council’s April 25 meeting.
According to Sandy City’s website, the purpose of CDBG is to develop a viable urban community by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment and by expanding local economic opportunities principally for the low- and moderate-income residents of the community. Sandy receives federal CDBG funds, adds their own funds and then determines which programs in the community fit the requirements for receiving the grants.
Michael Wilcox, the long-range planning manager for Sandy City, presented the council with a list of recommendations for funding compiled by the CDBG advisory committee. Wilcox said the committee implemented a new system of review this season.
“We had the opportunity to revise our review process. We’ve provided copies of our application methodology that we’ve used to score and rank these applications as a committee,” Wilcox said. “Some of the things we grapple with is how do we divide up the money that we do receive? How do we get the most bang for our buck for those dollars, leverage those funds wherever possible and focus on those outcomes?”
Wilcox said while it’s hard to make everyone happy with limited funds, the committee has done their best to objectively evaluate those applicants and determine which ones should be funded and which ones shouldn’t.
Aside from costs relating to administration totaling $46,839, CDBG is divided into two categories. The first is housing rehabilitation/economic development/infrastructure improvements. In this category, eight entities applied for grants. In the end, five received funding totaling $273,648. This included the Odyssey House with $6,5000 for facility improvements, the Road Home with $5,000 for facility improvements, the INN Between with $7,000 for hospice for the homeless, ASSIST Housing with $55,184 for emergency home repair and Sandy City with $200,000 for road construction.
Jan Carter, the development coordinator with Odyssey House spoke to the council on behalf of Odyssey Home.
“Odyssey House [AC1] provides treatment services for substance abuse addition and what’s called co-occurring mental illness. A lot of people who are suffering from addiction also have mental illness. We serve teens, single parents with young children, (and) adults. We have outpatient service, transitional housing, a clinic with a focus on people suffering from addiction,” Carter said. “We really appreciate the recommendation from the committee.”
Carter said the money they requested would go toward fixing their facility’s heating and air conditioning. They’ve been trying to overhaul the system for the past five years and with this final push, the project should come to a close.
“We have, in the past, had clients relieved of treatment due to conditions related to inadequate heating and cooling because of the antiquated heating and cooling that hopefully will be fixed,” Carter said. “This puts these clients at risk of relapse, incarceration and premature death. Having this occur because we couldn’t provide a suitable environment for recovery is devastating.”
The second part of CDBG goes toward public service activities. Eleven different entities applied for funding with only seven receiving grants totaling $45,500. These included Community Health Centers with $5,000 for dental and medical services, the Family Support Center with $5,000 for their crisis nursery and counseling, Salt Lake Community Action Program with $6,000 for a south county food pantry, South Valley Services with $10,000 for domestic violence victim and advocacy services, the Road Home with $9,000 for homeless shelter operations and $5,500 for transitional housing operations and the YWCA with $5,000 for domestic abuse shelter and services.
Jeff Bird, the executive director of the Family Support Center, thanked the committee for their recommendation, saying the center is excited to celebrate their 40th anniversary. The Family Support Center offers crisis nursery care, mental health treatment, self-sufficiency, and housing for homeless mothers and their children and in-home parenting support.
“Last year, Family Support Center served 52 children in Sandy in our free crisis nursery center in Midvale. Funding from CDBG is critical for the continued success of the program,” Bird said. “We’re grateful for past support and grateful for the current recommendation for funding from the allocation committee.”
Jennifer Campbell, the executive director of South Valley Services, also expressed appreciation for the recommendation for funding.
“We know here in Utah, one in three women will be the victims of domestic violence and one in seven men. Unfortunately, this is higher than the national average,” Campbell said. “Our goal and our aim is to stop this and we need our community in Sandy to help and support us in our effort.”
According to Campbell, the funding they requested is to support their shelter located in West Jordan.
“This is where we house individuals who are at high risk of homicide from domestic violence. In our shelter, this funding will go to our victim advocates,” Campbell said. “These amazing individuals are there right now, answering our 24-hour hotline and meeting the basic needs of any individual who comes into our shelter.”