Nonprofits serving children in San Benito axed from city's yearly federal funding

Last week, San Benito city commissioners decided to no longer fund programs, like CASA and the San Benito Boys and Girls Club, using federal money given to the city from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Last week, San Benito city commissioners decided against funding local nonprofits that serve children in the city, instead using federal grant money to improve the city's infrastructure and build a restroom for a city park.

The funding the city receives annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is known as a block grant. Several programs that help children in San Benito, like CASA and the San Benito Boys and Girls Club, received no funding from the city for this upcoming fiscal year.

"We were a little shocked, taken back by that," said Dora Martínez, executive director for CASA.

Last week, CBS 4 asked San Benito City Manager Manuel De La Rosa and the city’s spokesperson for an interview about this funding change, but both were unavailable.

A week later, the city issued a news release stating it will receive $406,237 from the federal block grant. From that, about $395,618, will go towards city streets, water and wastewater systems. The city says the remaining $10,000 won't be enough to reach the approximately $76,000 in requests from nonprofits.

"While all of these requests are worthy, the applicants' requests are greater than the remaining funding balance," De La Rosa states in the news release. "Therefore, we have proposed utilizing the remaining $10,620.00 for needed park restroom facilities at Landrum Park, which would benefit the entire San Benito community."

While one San Benito park is set to get a restroom, the Boys and Girls Club of San Benito says it might struggle. They say they receive hundreds of kids and teens during the summer and keep them off the streets.

"I get that they want to improve their city, and that's a great cause.” Martínez said. “But I believe that serving the abused children from San Benito is also a great cause."

Both organizations tell CBS 4 they will be revisiting their budgets, but fear fundraising won’t be enough to cover costs for their staff that serve the San Benito community.

A 30-day comment period on the proposed plan will conclude July 26. De La Rosa expects the city commission will consider the plan for adoption on Aug. 7.

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