Prepared by Jake Whitaker, RPPG Manager of Grant Writing and Research.

RPPG anticipates significant competitive funding opportunities for local governments over the next several years based on the state budget and expenditure of surplus funds.

After months of legislative work, the California State Legislature passed the FY 21-22 budget framework with the approval of SB 112 on June 14, 2021. Thorough understanding of the state budget is critical to successful strategic planning for local governments, particularly in the realm of competitive grant funding. In order to support these efforts, RPPG conducted an analysis of the state budget to highlight critical funding opportunities that will be coming through during the next fiscal year and beyond.

Homelessness: Building upon the Governor’s Project Homekey initiative, the legislature has approved $1.2 billion in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in FY 21-22 and $1 billion in ARPA funds in FY 22-23 to support the project. Homekey provides funding for local public agencies to purchas

e motels and a broad range of other housing types to increase their community’s capacity to respond to homelessness. The budget also includes $40 million for Family Homelessness challenge grants and technical assistance, $30 million for Encampment Resolution Grants in FY 21-22, and $25 million for competitive grants to support aging veterans and veterans with disabilities who have experienced chronic homelessness.

Public Safety: With ongoing concern over increases in violent crime and gun violence, the legislature approved funding for several grant programs through the Board and State of Community Corrections (BSCC). $200 million in one-time funds have been appropriated across the next three fiscal years to support the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (CalVIP). The CalVIP program provides funding to cities with high rates of homicides or that have been otherwise classified as being disproportionately impacted by violence. An additional $10.3 million will be provided to establish a Gun Violence Reduction Grant Program.

Affordable Housing: The legislature approved $250 million for the Infill Infrastructure Grant (IIG) Program, a recurring funding opportunity through the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The program’s primary objective is to promote infill housing development by providing financial assistance for Capital Improvement Projects that are an integral part of or necessary to facilitate the development of a Qualifying Infill Project or a Qualifying Infill Area. $45 million from the Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund has also been appropriated to expand the state’s excess sites program to support affordable housing development, with funding for brownfield remediation.

Climate Resilience and Wildfires: The legislature has agreed to a $1 billion spending package to confront the prevent and respond to the ever-growing threat of Californian wildfires, a $3.7 billion spending package to respond to the emerging drought, and another $3.7 billion allocated over three years to make climate resiliency investments. The legislature appropriated $100 million to support the required local share of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). HMGP provides funding to address the risk of future natural disasters in response to federally declared disaster codes, including California’s severe wildfire season. Funds can be used by jurisdictions for infrastructure projects that mitigate the risks and impacts of wildfires.

Water Infrastructure: Of the $1.38 billion appropriated to the State Water Resources Control Board, $650 million will be available to support infrastructure projects to address the accessibility of safe, clean drinking water and another $650 million for wastewater infrastructure projects. The board will prioritize septic-to-sewer investments when considering applications for projects that address wastewater issues. An additional $85 million will be utilized for groundwater cleanup and water recycling projects. The Water Resources Control Board received $200 million to provide competitive grant opportunities for multi-benefit drought relief projects.

Transportation: The legislature appropriated $400 million for state and local transportation adaptation grants. These appropriations will be further defined by a trailer bill.

Economic Recovery: In order to support economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget also includes $50 million in one-time funds for grants to local governments and nonprofits to provide direct relief to eligible microbusinesses (defined by the Small Business Administration as businesses with 1-9 employees). $120 million has been appropriated for the California Competes competitive grant program, which will provide funding to support major employers seeking to relocate to California or to smaller employers creating jobs in areas with high poverty and high unemployment.

Parks and Recreation: The Statewide Parks Program (SPP) is one of the primary funding sources for the development of new parks and new recreation opportunities in critically underserved communities. The legislature has appropriated $125 million for the SPP and $40 million for the Outdoor Equity Grants Program. Funding through the Outdoor Equity Grants Program will be used to create outdoor programs targeted and accessible to underserved communities.

Broadband: The legislature has appropriated $3.75 billion over a multi-year period for investments in broadband infrastructure and improved access to broadband services throughout the state.

Cannabis: To help governments with the highest amount of provision licenses assist licensees in transitioning to full annual licenses, the state legislature has allocated $100 million to establish a Local Jurisdiction Grant Program. The budget also includes $20 million for the Cannabis Local Equity Grant Program, which will support the development and operation of local programs focused on the inclusion of individuals from communities negatively impacted by cannabis criminalization to participate in California’s legal cannabis marketplace.

Libraries: The Governor’s May revision included several proposals to enhance funding for local library jurisdictions, which were approved by the legislature. These opportunities include $3 million in grants to acquire bookmobiles and vans, $5 million for grants to provide early learning opportunities and after school programs, $50 million to provide grants for local library infrastructure programs, and $6 million to support the Broadband Connectivity initiative for rural and under-sourced libraries.

Mental Health: The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the importance of mental health services and underlying inequities in the accessibility of those services. $200 million has been appropriated to support a competitive grant program for local entities and community-based organizations to address mental health disparities and provide linguistically and culturally competent services for populations that lack access or are difficult to reach. The legislature also approved $429 million for a FY 22-23 grant program, through the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), to support early psychosis programs, programs for disproportionately impacted communities or communities of color, youth drop-in wellness centers, intensive outpatient programs for youth, and prevention and early intervention services for youth. The state budget framework will also augment the Mental Health Student Services Act with $200 million in additional funding for grants that establish school mental health partnerships.

Workforce Development: The budget allocates $14.5 million to the California Workforce Development Board to provide grants for local Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training programs to address shortages in this critical labor market. $20 million in one-time funds have also been allocated to support the participation of community colleges in High Road Training Partnerships and regional partnerships funded by the California Workforce Development Board. The legislature also appropriated $20 million to support the Prison to Employment program and $30 million to the Breaking Barriers to Employment program.

Museums: Struggling with the impacts of closures necessitated by public health guidance, local museums have lost significant revenue over the past two years. The California Natural Resources Agency will receive $50 million in one-time funds for the Museum Grant Program for capital projects or programs that support and enhance museum services that serve historically underserved communities.

Education: Governor Newsom’s May revision to the budget proposal contained significant investments in education, including a new initiative to establish Pre-Kindergarten as a new universal grade level in California’s school system. The budget includes $300 million in one-time funds for the California Pre-Kindergarten Program Planning and Implementation Grant. $2 billion in one-time funds have been appropriated to expand the California Community Schools Partnership Program through 2028. As an ongoing investment, the budget provides $260 million for Special Education Early Intervention grants. Another significant ongoing investment increases the Career Technical Education Incentive Grant by $150 million. Special Education Learning Recovery Grants will be funded using $500 million in federal stimulus funds on a one-time basis. The budget also provides a number of other one-time fund allocations for the Supportive Inclusive Practices Project, the Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program, training for school food service workers to promote healthier meals and grants for kitchen infrastructure upgrades, funding for the A-G Completion Grant Program, incentive grants to attract and retain highly-qualified National Board Certified teachers to teach in high poverty schools, establishing the Education Workforce Investment Grant for Computer Science, and funds for the Anti-Bias Education Grant Program.

A full breakdown of budget appropriations to grant programs and other local funding opportunities is available here.

On June 28, the Legislature adopted a series of budget trailer bills to further detail specifics on how dollars will be allocated in the FY 21-22 budget cycle. RPPG will be providing additional analysis of potential funding opportunities as details continue to emerge. However, if your agency is looking at vying for these funding opportunities the time is now to begin planning.

Jake Whitaker

Jake Whitaker

Jake Whitaker is the Manager of Grant Writing and Research for Renne Public Policy Group. Partnering with dozens of cities, counties, community college districts, school districts, and nonprofits Jake has helped secure millions in state and federal resources. These include awards from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the Board of State and Community Corrections, the Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the California Community Foundation.