Atascadero to distribute grants

Disabled people, the homeless and a local shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence are potential beneficiaries of a slate of federal Community Development Block Grants coming before the Atascadero City Council on Tuesday.

The council is expected to award $190,144 to key community programs that are designed to benefit low-income people, prevent blight and address needs that are believed to threaten the health or welfare of the community.

The federal funds, from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, must be spent on subsidized housing, anti-poverty programs and infrastructure development.

The city received 13 applications for assistance. City staff is recommending that eight of those requests be filled.

The largest award of funds is being recommended for the city itself. The $118,194 commitment would be used build wheelchair ramps at Lewis and West Mall avenues, with sidewalk widening up to Traffic Way.

The money would also be used for accessible-path improvements at Paloma Creek Park and the installation of a missing portion of sidewalk on the east side of El Camino Real, south of San Jacinto Avenue, Public Works Director Russ Thompson said.

Staff is also recommending that $15,000 be given to the El Camino Homeless Organization to pay for shelter maintenance and operation costs. The shelter, located on Atascadero Avenue, served more than 12,000 meals in 2009 and provided shelter for more than 9,000 people.

Additional allocations include:

Grant applications that are not being recommended by staff include a $100,000 request from the Transitional Food and Shelter program to purchase a property at 7560 Sombrilla Ave. for a residential care center; a $5,000 request from Mission Community Services Corporation for business training for women; and a $15,000 request from the UC Merced Small Business Development Center to promote the growth of small businesses.

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939.