Council will decide next week how funds from the Santa Monica Human Services Grants Program (HSGP) budget of $10,145,594 for 2023-24 will be distributed and which agencies will benefit.

The City solicited applications in September of last year and by the January 18, 2023 deadline, staff had received 31 program proposals from 24 agencies with grant requests totaling approximately $11.6 million, far exceeding the previous $7.9 million in general funds budgeted for the program. Staff have identified alternate funding sources to increase the total available to $10.1M this year.

“We’re entering a new grant cycle. We’re looking at a new slate of grantees. That’s what we’re asking Council to approve on May 9,” says Marc Amaral, Human Services Administrator for the Housing and Human Services Division. “The additional funding we’ve been able to find is going to be available for the full four year period here. So we’re putting in front of councilmembers a plan to issue $10 million of grants annually for the duration of the next four year cycle.”

The HSGP provides millions of dollars in annual funding for services offered by nonprofit organizations that respond to clearly identified community needs in Santa Monica and advance the City’s priorities. The program aims to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of Santa Monica’s youth and families, people with disabilities, seniors, victims of domestic violence, low-income households, and people experiencing homelessness. HSGP funding levels are approved by Council annually as part of the adoption of the City’s budget.

“We have a four year funding cycle and during that cycle we have a set of portfolio of programs. However, the Council does approve budgets every year,” says Ivy Chang, Acting Youth and Families Administrator for the Housing and Human Services Division. “So we are proposing and agreeing to offer them this amount of money, but on a year by year basis as they approve the budget, it [the funding amount] could change slightly.”

Proposals also included a commitment to provide $19.9 million in matching funds, totaling to $31.5 million in proposed funding to serve Santa Monica program participants. Of the 24 applying agencies, seven are new applicants to the City’s HSGP funding process. The combination of proposals for new and existing programs serves the full range of Santa Monica’s HSGP priority populations, including people with disabilities, people experiencing homelessness, seniors, youth and families and other underserved populations.

Staff are recommending funds go to Chrysalis, CLARE MATRIX, Connections for Children, Disability Community Resource Center, Family Service of Santa Monica, Growing Place, Haven Neighborhood Services, Hospitality Training Academy, JVS SoCal, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Meals on Wheels West, Santa Monica College, Social & Emotional Wellness Initiative, St. Joseph Center, The People Concern, Venice Family Clinic, Westside Food Bank and WISE & Healthy Aging.

Depending on Council approval on May 9, 2023, staff will negotiate contracts with programs recommended for 2023-27 HSGP funding. Final HSGP funding awards will be included in the 2023-25 budget and considered during budget adoption in June 2023. The 2023-27 HSGP funding cycle will start July 1, 2023.

This article has been edited to reflect a clearer explanation of the portfolio program funding.

Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.