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Economic assistance

9/6/2010, 5 p.m.

LOS ANGELES - Homeboy Industries and other projects to create jobs in Los Angeles have been awarded a share of $1 million in grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, it was announced.

The Access to Housing and Economic Assistance for Development (AHEAD) program grants - amounting to between $20,000 and $50,000 --are handed out each year, to support economic and community development and affordable housing projects in California, Arizona and Nevada.

"Economic development is what we are all focused on right now,'' said Jim Yacenda, the bank's vice president and community investment officer.

"More than half of the projects funded in this cycle are aimed directly at jobs - creating or preserving them, supporting the small businesses and social enterprises that generate them, or developing well-targeted job training programs.''

Homeboy Industries will receive $50,000 to help train at-risk youth and former gang members in solar panel installation from the East Los Angeles Skills Center. The grant will provide stipends for training, and pay for tool kits and support services for students.

Another local recipient of a $50,000 grant is HOME, a resale boutique that offers jobs to poor women.

The Downtown Women's Center wants to train poor women to create handmade products from recycled materials and sell high-end brand merchandise. The grant will fund salary and benefits for a director who will establish, direct and oversee operations.

Other programs receiving $20,000 grants include:
* Enterprise Community Partners, which will use the money to pay consultants to develop an affordable housing strategy for South Los Angeles

* East L.A. Community Corporation, which will offer street vendors in Boyle Heights financial literacy training, technical assistance, licensing and access to health permits and certification

* Community Services Unlimited, which will train apprentices and volunteers on how to grow food at their urban farms and market the produce in their communities at affordable prices

* Esperanza Community Housing Corporation which will upgrade the facilities at Mercado La Paloma, which is home to 15 small businesses, rents office space to nonprofits and conference rooms to the community.