I am speaking of the many Boards and Commissions comprised of volunteers working under the guidance of County agencies. I am a volunteer on one of those Boards, the San Benito County Community Action Board (CAB).

Each Supervisorial District has three representatives on the Board. One individual is a Representative of the Poor, a second represents the Private Sector, and the third is either the District Supervisor or their representative. Our primary goal is to meet the needs of the poor and underserved in our community. We are under the umbrella of Community Services and Workforce Development (CSWD).

The CAB of San Benito County and CSWD are tasked with applying for, and overseeing grants from the State and Federal government. Our targeted population for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are domestic violence victims, the homeless, migrant farm workers, abused children, illiterate adults or persons with income at 80% or below the area median income. Other grants may target other groups (assistance with energy bills (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program “LIHEAP), food, job training, life and parenting skills, etc.)

CSWD staff researches grants, then applies for appropriate grants, and disperses awarded funds. The CAB is responsible for oversight of the above listed activities. In some cases, such as CDBG grants, CAB will rate applications in order to present the strongest possible application, one that best serves the needs of the poor in our community.

The following is a list of just some of the funding brought into the county and the services provided to meet the needs of the low-income in San Benito County:

$500,000 – Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2013
• The Homeless Coalition of San Benito County
• Emmaus House
• Job Training Services

$500,000 – Community Development Block Grant 2010-2011
• Homeless Coalition
• Community Food Bank
• Job Link
• Friends of the Library

$124,584 – Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) 2013
• Winter Shelter & Administration
• Rental Assistance, Stop Eviction Assistance
• Water/Garbage
• Job Training

$216,202 – Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) 2013
(Assistance for PGE or Propane Utility Bill)
• HEAP (Regular/15hr Notice)
• Fast Track (48hr notice)

$207,000 – Continuum of Care (CoC) 2012
• Ongoing Rental assistance for homeless individuals or families that have someone in the household with a documented disability – Program Name “Helping Hands”

$2,000,000 – Joe Serna Farmworker Grant (FWHG) 2006
• $2 mil to be used for a new kitchen and additional bunk houses at the labor camp

There is an excellent WIX website, www.sbccab.wix.com/cab or via mobile at www.m.sbccab.wix.com/cab created by Andi Anderson of CSWD that explains CAB in a fun and informative manner. A CAB membership application is also available on the site under the “CONTACTS” tab for anyone interested in serving on the board in one of the current vacancies. You can also provide valuable input, ideas and suggestions on how the board can better serve your needs on this page as well.

If you are interested in serving on the CAB or any of the other Boards or Commissions please contact your Supervisor. The San Benito County government webpage www.cosb.org has a list of the Supervisors and a map of their respective districts.

If you would like to provide input on what you feel are the needs of the community we invite you to attend our public hearing on Tuesday May 21, 2013 at 5:30 P.M. at Calavares Elementary School, Library, 1151 Buena Vista Road, Hollister, CA 95023

Robert Scoles, Community Action Board Member