Non-profits petition for funds

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Robert Huskey/ Daily Titan

Fullerton’s Community Development Citizens’ Committee gathered on Monday to discuss the applications and allocation of funds for the Development Block Grant Program, which is set up to fund non-profit organizations for the 2013-2014 year.

The combined amount of all the requested funds totaled $191,690. These would provide non-profits the possibility of investing in more youth programs, refurbishment of old buildings, improved help for the homeless and upgraded nutritional programs.

Monday’s meeting focused on the non-profit organizations Helping Our Mentally Ill Experience Success (HOMES), Meals on Wheels, Mercy House, Pathways of Hope, Women’s Transitional Living Center and YMCA of Orange County.

The committee also received requests from the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County, Community SeniorServ Inc., Council of Aging, Fair Housing, Foundation and Illumination Foundation.

Although the current economic downturn has slashed funding from private sources; the non-profit groups were hoping to gain the full amount of funds for each of their organizations even though the committee approved $107,800 for the 2012-2013 year, an increase of $83,890.

Sandra White, the volunteer board of directors president for Meals on Wheels, said the organization will likely receive less corporate funding due to the poor economy, yet prices for meals will continue to rise each year.

“We’ve been really lucky this past couple of years that the economic hit hadn’t really hurt us,” said White. “But I think this is the year.”

White mentioned that the rising cost of Meals on Wheels membership has affected enrollment, which is why the organization is seeking an extra $2,000 for the 2013-2014 year.

“We have seen fewer clients coming onto the program who are able to pay the full cost of their meals,” White said.

Meals on Wheels has also seen an increase of clients, and potential clients, who are asking for subsidized meals, according to White.

The Women’s Transitional Living Center (WTLC) was a rarity among the committee, as they were one of four organizations that asked for the same amount of funds they received in 2012-2013, which was $10,000.

“One of the big things about WTLC is we specialize in helping populations of people that no other domestic violence shelter in Orange County will,” said Kathy Strong, WTLC Director of Contracts Administration. “We take all the people that would normally fall between the cracks.”

Committee member Zoot Velasco went so far as to thank McKenna and the living center for not asking for more funding.

This current community development block grant request has seen three organizations ask for a higher amount of funds along with five new applicants, adding to the pressure of grants approved by the committee.

Allison Harvey, the development director for Mercy House, said the requested $15,000 in funds would help provide 200 beds per night, meals and security for the surrounding area.

Harvey said the shelter typically has funding to stay open 130 days each year, starting in December, and are aiming at being able to stay open for 149 days.

“We serve over 1,700 individuals per year at our armory emergency shelters,” said Harvey. “It does serve as the single largest emergency shelter program that Orange County has.”

Pending a Fullerton City Council approval for a possible year-round homeless shelter, Harvey said that if Mercy House were to be in charge of the year-round homeless shelter the organization would be able to reallocate the $15,000 grant to be used for the operation costs of the new homeless shelter.

About Raymond Mendoza