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Grants boost quality of life

Local nonprofits are encouraged to apply for money

A total of $895,000 is up for grabs to Federal Way nonprofit groups and public agencies looking to improve the quality of life for select groups of residents.

City and federal grant funding will benefit the city’s senior citizens, disabled, special needs and low- to moderate-income population in 2009 and 2010. The city has received the grants annually since 1991, said Kelli O’Donnell, Community Development Block Grant coordinator.

“We try to really be in touch with agencies so they know the funding is out there,” O’Donnell said.

For the 2009-2010 year, the city will offer $430,000 through its Human Services programs, financed through the city’s general fund. Federal funding ($77,000) is expected to be generated from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program. The remaining $388,000 will come from the CDBG Capital program, which is also federally funded.

Winning applicants must utilize the grants within a 17-month period, O’Donnell said. Only Federal Way agencies can qualify for the money.

Stipulations

Funds generated through the CDBG Capital program must be used in connection with community facilities or housing projects, according to an April 4 city press release. The money can be used to acquire or improve property or economic development projects, according to the same release.

The grant money can also be applied toward the improvement, renovation or purchase of a facility, O’Donnell said.

“It’s a good funding source if (agencies) serve low- and moderate-income residents,” O’Donnell said.

Historically, CDBG grant money has been used to assist the Multi-Service Center food bank, Federal Way Senior Center, St. Vincent de Paul Parish emergency services, Catholic Community Services voucher program, FUSION Transitional Housing for Women and Children and the remodeling of the Boys and Girls Club of Federal Way.

“CDBG has been very helpful for the senior center over the past several years on a couple of fronts,” Federal Way Senior Center executive director Dr. Nathan Brown said.

Grant money funded sliding doors at the facility’s entrance, he said. It also makes it possible for the senior center to offer adult daycare, Brown said.

“If it weren’t for that funding, we wouldn’t be able to offer (daycare) at the price we are,” Brown said.

He said the senior center will likely apply for CDBG funding for the 2009-2010 year.

“We are in the process of looking at expanding some existing programs and potentially asking for CDBG money for things we haven’t been able to do because of cost,” he said.

One example of such programs is a van route to transport senior citizens to and from the senior center, Brown said. The grant money could be used toward expanding the routes and offering the service two to three times a day, Brown said.

“We would love to see Federal Way agencies get every penny of this grant money and use it to improve the quality of life of our residents,” Federal Way human resources manager Lynnette Hynden said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

Check it out:

The deadline to apply for the money is 5 p.m. April 25. Organizations that wish to apply for the grants, but need help doing so, ought to first visit the city’s Web site at www.cityoffederalway.com and view the application, said Kelli O’Donnell, Community Development Block Grant coordinator. If further assistance is needed, the city can offer help with grant writing.

“We would be glad to walk them through (the application process),” O’Donnell said.

Organizations that are interested in acquiring the grants, but are unsure if they qualify or if now would be the best time to apply, can contact O’Donnell for assistance.

“We would be happy to talk to folks even if they are not ready to apply for funding now,” she said.

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