The City of Merced is moving forward with a months-old proposal to support a resource center for the minority LGBT communities.
In June, amid Pride Month, Councilwoman Bertha Perez brought forward the idea of funding for a Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) Resource Center.
The center – which is located at the Multicultural Arts Center – provides supportive services to enhance the health and wellbeing of all individuals within the BIPOC and LGBT communities.
On Monday, the council directed city staff to explore using the remainder of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to help support the center.
“We’ve heard a description here of something that, frankly it’s beautiful,” said Mayor Matthew Serratto.
“We had this center growing in a city building of people coming together, grass roots, really growing something with our support as well. It’s an incredible thing that I think everybody should applaud and should cheer.”
Originally, the center came to the council with a request for $75,000 to help jumpstart operations, but by Monday that request had been reduced to $50,000.
With $40,000 left in the city’s CDBG funds that has yet to be expended, the council unanimously decided to move forward with exploring how those funds can be utilized for the center.
City staff will bring a refined plan forward to the council at a future meeting for final approval.
The council could have also explored the possibilities of using funds from its American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allocation as well as its general fund, but the CDBG option presented the most straightforward billing for the center.
Once the funding source returns for final approval, the city council will also be presented with a resolution to approve that signal a commitment to working with various community-based organizations to increase equity and inclusion as well as improve health and wellness for the BIPOC and LGBT communities.