DELANO, Calif. (KGET) — Over half a million dollars in community development block grants will be used to tackle Delano’s most pressing issues, which include helping the homeless and ensuring that streets and waterlines in the westside are improved.

Delano city officials called on the community when they were stumped on how to effectively spend federal grant money.

Clarity for city officials came after they invited residents to voice their concerns and ideas at two town halls. Cris Cerda was one of those residents.

“It’s important that we cover the necessities of Delano residents,” Cerda said. “Because they are screaming for help.”

The funds, distributed annually through the Community Development Block Grant program, are to be used for direct action in the community.

Sumeet Batth-Chavez, Recreation Manager with The City of Delano, participated in these town halls, hearing from residents what is the most pressing issue.

“Delano is an entitlement city,” Batth-Chavez said.  “We do receive funding every year from CDBG.”

So where do residents of the growing town of more than 50,000 predominantly Latinx working-class residents want federal dollars spent?

“Every year we try to put something towards infrastructure,” Batth-Chavez said. “That is really what the community asked for.”

This year the city has allocated more than $230,000 for street resurfacing and water line improvements, particularly for residents in the western part of Delano. That’s the oldest part of town and it is severely in need of improvements.

“Updating these things now,” Cerda said. “Will prevent us from having lots more issues in the future, it’s all thanks to the community, all thanks to their input.”

$129,000 will also go to pay a low-interest federal loan used to build the 11th Avenue Community Center and Gym, expected to be paid off by 2036. More than $89,000 dollars will also be used to continue assistance for domestic violence victims and the homeless in Delano.

“They wanted infrastructure, they wanted improved streets, they wanted the water lines, it makes a larger impact and more residents benefit from it,” Batth-Chavez said.

The City of Delano continuously has street improvement projects, projects funded with these federal dollars can begin as soon as July 1.