The city of Burbank recently designated more than $1.1 million in federal funds for several local nonprofits along with one of its own departments that is tasked with addressing homelessness.
The federal government provides Community Development Block Grant funds annually to cities, which then distribute the money to organizations serving low-income populations. On Tuesday, the City Council gave those funds to programs and initiatives for next fiscal year, including homeless prevention, health services and after-school activities.
The City Council divvied up federal grant funds to several projects Tuesday, including programs for the homeless and the local Boys & Girls Club. But the project that received the most comment from residents was the Burbank Youth Center’s solar panel installation, an initiative council members referenced frequently as they shuffled funds around, trying to determine where to allocate portions of the federal Community Development Block Grant. In nearly all cases, project managers received less money than they requested — funding all the projects in the amount applied for would have put the city more than $350,000 over the line. “Everybody’s in need. Everybody would like to have more money,” Councilman Jess Talamantes said during the panel’s meeting. City staff members recommended that the council not issue any funds to the solar panel project for the BYC, an organization formed by the Armenian Cultural Foundation, believing the money could be better used for housing and homelessness initiatives. But after about a dozen callers asked council members not to divert the grant from the BYC during the meeting’s public comment period, the council agreed to find funding elsewhere for the causes advocated by the staff.
As the crowd continued to grow at his election night party at Pasadena’s Armenian Cultural Foundation, Anthony Portantino made the rounds, embracing supporters and posing for photos as the early results of his state Senate race were projected onto a screen.