County Holds Public Hearing to Discuss Use of Remaining Grant Funds

Community and Economic Development Manager Esperanza Colio-Warren discusses the use of remaining CDBG funding for public service programs.

EL CENTRO – The Imperial County Board of Supervisors, along with Community and Economic Development Manager Esperanza Colio-Warren, held a public hearing Tuesday to receive input on a decision concerning excess Community Grant Funding. The board is considering adopting a resolution to authorize the county to utilize the remaining funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and any upcoming program income funds for public service program-subsistence payments.

Imperial County received the grant from the California Development of Housing and Community Development (HDC) through its Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG) to fund six activities. After five of the six activities have been completed, the county has unused grant funds that may be utilized for supplemental activities.

According to Colio-Warren, in an effort to equally distribute all funds allocated, the county requested the approval of two supplemental activities from the funding source.

“These two activities are Community Cleanups and Subsistence Payments Program, which are approved by HCD on April 1, 2016, are oversubscribed and are in need of additional funds to continue providing services,” said Colio-Warren.

The subsistence Payments Program provides assistance to seniors, severely disabled adults and the homeless in the form of food vouchers and utility payment assistance.

“Although HCD previously approved the Subsistence Payments Program, the original approval has limited expenditures amounts. Therefore the county must hold a public hearing and solicit approval to ensure that all remaining grant funds and upcoming Program Income can be utilized by the Subsistence Payments Program,” explained Colio-Warren.

Theresa Estrada, program coordinator of the Heber Senior services, approached the board and thanked them for the support they have provided to the senior community.

“We need all of the support you can give us,” said Estrada.

Among the suggestions made for seniors citizens were additional transportation services, utility vouchers and meals.

“I, like a lot of people, am aware of the needs in the senior community like transportation, meals and utility vouchers,” said a Seeley resident. “Seeley has a tremendous amount of senior citizens living in the outskirts of the city, 297 to be exact, who do not have transportation or the opportunity to participate in the nutritional programs. I find it difficult to communicate with these people and inform them of these services available to them.”

Subsequent to the public hearing, the board voted to approve and utilize the remaining funds to provide food vouchers, rent and utilities to income-eligible senior citizens, homeless persons, and severely disabled adults living in the unincorporated areas of Imperial County.

The county plans to utilize all upcoming Program funds until a new CDBG contract is received.