ESCONDIDO, CA (KGTV)— If you live in the city of Escondido and belong to one of its 18 established Neighborhood Groups, you could qualify to get some help with your next exterior home improvement project.
"The 'Grants to Blocks' program is a grant program that assists homeowners in low to moderate-income neighborhoods to help pay for beautification of their homes," said Holly Nelson, the Housing & Neighborhood Services manager for the City of Escondido.
She said grants of up to $5,000 are given through the city's Grants to Blocks program, though there is a bit of a catch for those interested.
"We also ask that people contribute as well and try to match the grant, whether that's through additional resources with funding or volunteer times to kind of implement the project."
Volunteer labor valued at $12 an hour can be used to match the grant, according to the city.
The projects can include upgrades to the exterior of the home, or even community gardens, street trees, pavers, and fencing.
"This could be painting their homes, it could be changing the landscape and making it more of a dryscape, or it could be a community-based project where several neighbors want to get together and improve the quality of their neighborhood," said Nelson.
Nelson showed ABC 10News a larger project on Escondido's Gamble Street between Mission and Lincoln Avenues, pavers were added to the sidewalks back in 2010 to improve the overall look of the street. Nearly 60 homes participated.
Nelson says the city currently has $75,000 to allocate to new projects under the program, but so far this year, there hasn't been much interest.
"I think with COVID, the neighborhood groups haven't been as active, but we definitely try to promote this," she said, adding that the city is hoping for more applicants.
The application process includes describing the project in detail, how much it will cost, how it benefits your community, volunteers that'll be participating, and support from some of the neighbors.
If you're interested in more information about the program, or if you don't belong to one of Escondido's 18 neighborhood groups and want to start one where you live, you can contact the Program Coordinator Dulce Salazar for more information at 760-839-4057 or Dsalazar@escondido.org.