The city of Los Altos recently launched a program that allocates $20,000 in grants to encourage emergency preparedness, build community and strengthen neighborhood ties.
The Community & Emergency Preparedness Grant Program will fund as many projects as possible, from as many neighborhoods as possible. Projects must support the program’s goals to enhance community resiliency, proactively prepare for emergencies and strengthen the community’s ability to respond to and recover from emergencies, disasters or crime.
“Neighborhoods are safer when neighbors know one another and look out for each other and their property,” said Ann Hepenstal, community emergency preparedness coordinator. “And when a disaster or major event strikes, residents need to be prepared to help themselves, their family and neighbors until help arrives.”
Grant funding will be available for projects, outreach materials and events designed to increase communication and connections within the community and strengthen neighborhood emergency preparedness. According to Hepenstal, examples of funded projects might include:
• Hosting a social event to connect neighbors and increase community ties.
• Purchasing Family Radio Service radios for registered emergency preparedness volunteers in the neighborhood.
• Publishing a neighborhood directory with contact information for each family.
• Stocking a neighborhood supply of emergency preparedness equipment or supplies such as water, food rations and first aid supplies.
• Organizing a training workshop or neighborhood talk (for example, on crime prevention or wildfire safety).
Patricia Evans plans to write a grant application for her neighborhood of approximately 30 homes near Los Altos High School. “I’ve had several good suggestions,” she said, including training and supplying neighbors with fire extinguishers and walkie-talkies.
Evans hopes the grant program “kick-starts” other neighborhoods into improved preparedness. “Only 20 percent (of city residents) have been organized so far,” she said.
To qualify for a grant, applicants must reside in a neighborhood with a registered Block Action Team (BAT), Neighborhood Watch group or be in the process of registering for one. The BAT and Neighborhood Watch programs have been operating for several years and align well with the grant program goals, Hepenstal noted.
“Neighborhood Watch and BATs bring groups of neighbors together to work on strengthening connections within a neighborhood,” she said. “These groups operate at a grass-roots level and collaborate with the city of Los Altos to improve a neighborhood’s disaster preparedness, support crime prevention efforts and strengthen a sense of community.”
Applications are due by 9 a.m. Feb. 11. Mail or hand deliver them to Los Altos City Hall, Attn: Ann Hepenstal, 1 N. San Antonio Road, Los Altos 94022. Grant recipients will be announced in February.
For applications, visit losaltosca.gov/cepg.