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August 15, 2022

Community Action Board seeks input on priorities

The Community Action Board members, the county board charged
with reviewing state Community Development Block grant
applications, are looking for input from residents about their top
priorities for San Benito County.
The Community Action Board members, the county board charged with reviewing state Community Development Block grant applications, are looking for input from residents about their top priorities for San Benito County.

The board members have created a survey to ask residents what their priorities are for the grant applications, which are submitted from local nonprofits. The federal government sends money to the states, which it gives out in the form of Community Development Block Grants to local jurisdictions. Enrique Arreola, the deputy director of San Benito County’s Community Services and Workforce Development, said the board members want to have residents complete the survey by June 1 so that CAB can take that information into account when reviewing submissions for the next grant cycle. The next application is expected to be posted by the state in January.

In a press release, Arreola noted that San Benito County ranked as the fifth-most economically stressed county in the nation and that recent newspaper reports found that the county receives less federal funding than any other county in California.

Last year’s survey found that the need for jobs was the number one concern of residents – unemployment in San Benito has remained higher than other nearby counties and the state average. The last reported figure for the county put unemployment at 17.7 percent.

Arreola said the survey takes about three minutes to complete and asks residents to list how important 16 categories are to them. The survey can also be taken by hard copy for those who would like to pick up a copy at the CSWD office.

Other priorities identified last year included youth activities, general education, gang issues and the need for food assistance. The categories include social services, housing and economic development issues such as senior services, drug and substance abuse prevention, medical assistance and health education, roads and transportation, homeless issues and transitional housing and more.

“The Community Action Board of San Benito has been instrumental over the years with the receipt of state and federal funding benefiting our local nonprofits and low-income residents,” Arreola said.

During the last 10 years, staff and the Community Action Board have been successful in securing Community Development Block Grants of more than $4 million to support such nonprofits as the YMCA, the Homeless Coalition, Emmaus House, Community Food Bank, Friends of the Library and more. The grants have also funded programs for low-income residents such as first month’s rental and stop eviction assistance, temporary winter shelter, homeless winter shelter, youth employment, transportation assistance, vocational training and more.

“By providing these services we were able to assist clients during times of hardship by providing a hand up during difficult times,” Arreola said.

To complete the survey, visit www.sbcjobs.org and find the link on the page or go to http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22BR6RLQ4AV.

For more information on the survey or to complete it, call 637-9293.

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