WATSONVILLE – Representatives from Community Bridges held a press conference Monday morning in response to the Collective for Evidence-Based Results and Investments (CORE) funding proposals that will be presented to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday for exam.
The new list of grants for the 2022-23 fiscal year will reduce funding for Community Bridges programs by $816,000, according to Community Bridges representatives.
“Not only can we see directly that the disproportionate burden of the loss of these services has been on South County’s low-income people of color, but the realignment is heavily blamed on the portion of the population at the fastest growing — our seniors — showcasing the ageism of this proposition,” Community Bridges CEO Ray Cancino told a crowd of supporters gathered outside his Watsonville offices. “We urge our leaders to direct staff to reassess their investments and clearly articulate impacts, loss of services, and reinvest in our services.”
Community Bridges provides administrative support and oversight for a variety of programs across the county, including Meals on Wheels, Family Resource Collective, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program.
The CORE program is directed and designed by the Santa Cruz County Department of Social Services in partnership with the City of Santa Cruz which shares funding for some of the sponsored programs. The request for proposal before the board on Tuesday is the second in the program’s history and includes a contract term of three years, according to a staff report. The proposed awards for the 2022-23 fiscal year total $4.87 million allocated through the county general fund and $1.08 million from the City of Santa Cruz. The total funds requested by the applicants amounted to more than $15.6 million.
Community Bridges has submitted a request for approximately $1.47 million per year for the next round of funding, a total it says matches previous awards. The proposal detailed in the staff report awards them $436,221 for Meals on Wheels. A representative from Santa Cruz County confirmed that this was one of the highest recommended reward numbers.
If its funding were to be cut, Community Bridges says it anticipates partial closure of all four family resource centers, loss of subsidized child care slots, potential closure of early education child care sites across the county and a significant reduction in services at Elderday for seniors and adults with disabilities with complex issues. medical problems.
“It was daunting to review CORE’s funding recommendations. While I see the importance of all of the programs currently recommended for funding, it is apparent that the committee that reviewed the applications does not fully grasp the significance or importance of our Family Resource Centers,” said the Director. of the Family Resource Collective program, Mayra. Melendrez speaking on the podium. Melendrez stressed the importance of family resource services, which she says serve more than 6,000 participants each year and provide lockers, showers, laundry, food and mail services to homeless participants. “It looks like we’re going to have to turn our backs on (participants) due to lack of county funding and investment.”
In an email to the Sentinel, county spokesman Jason Hoppin said the CORE process, which was approved by the county council in 2015, was designed to guide the distribution of scarce funding for the local community. He said the county had previously approved funding for the same local nonprofits for 35 years, without a competitive process. CORE establishes a fair and competitive opportunity for all organizations and ensures that targeted investment areas are established, according to Hoppin.
Elderly care services
Clay Kempf is executive director of the Seniors Council and Area Agency on Aging in Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. These agencies are the primary funder of several senior programs currently housed at Live Oak Senior Center, including Meals on Wheels. In a letter sent to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, Kempf said that while the staff report shows $2.2 million in funding cuts, it does not list the organizations that will lose funding. He urged the board to insist on seeing such a list so that discussion about planning for these losses can take place. He reiterated those concerns when addressing the crowd on Monday.
“It’s great to adjust the allowances. Everyone does this, it’s probably healthy to do it, but to do it without looking at the unintended or intended consequences of who you’re defunding is just plain socially irresponsible,” Kempf said. “I can’t imagine anyone in a public or private office not having access to this information before taking action.”
Kempf also pointed out that many elder care programs face funding cuts or complete elimination because many state and federal grants these programs receive require local matching. All of this, he said, is happening despite the fact that the population of adults 60 or older is growing at a much faster rate than the population under 60. “Aging is about equity,” he said.
Hoppin acknowledged that many worthy programs do not receive a funding recommendation, but emphasized the high standards of objectivity in the grant recipient selection process. Funding recommendations come from a 58-person panel of independent reviewers comprised of county community members, researchers, subject matter experts, and staff from local cities and nonprofit organizations. He said the process is set up so that a variety of local organizations can compete fairly for funding.
Hoppin also said stakeholders, including those involved in Monday’s press conference, understand this process and applicants can also appeal funding decisions.
The CORE funding announcement comes nearly a month after Senior Network Services and Meals on Wheels received an eviction notice from the Live Oak School District. They had resided at the Live Oak Senior Center located at 1777 Capitola Road for over 40 years.
Other items on the meeting agenda
Other items on the agenda for the June 7 board meeting include a public hearing to consider a new recycling and solid waste service fee at the Buena Vista landfill, the proposed adoption of a resolution for the Prohousing Designation Program and consideration of a resolution approving the submission of a grant application to the California Transportation Commission for the 2023 Active Transportation Program.
If you are going to
What: Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors meeting
When: 9 a.m., June 7
How: Zoom – https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85163210200