New scholarship program is progressing

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Housing Director Emilio Ramirez (photo courtesy of the City of Oxnard)

Oxnard — The Community Services, Public Safety, Housing and Development Committee approved Tuesday, April 26, the Oxnard Housing Authority’s educational grant program.

Approval allows the program to be presented to the Board of Commissioners.

The scholarship program is sponsored entirely privately by Ventura County Credit Union, Chingon Bakery, Montecito Bank & Trust and Ramirez Real Estate Development Group.

Residential Director Emilio Ramirez introduced the property and called the grant an exciting new program he hopes to launch.

He said the housing authority’s mission promotes the city’s overall well-being by addressing unsafe and substandard housing and alleviating the city’s lack of affordable housing.

“The housing authority and the housing department follow this mission every day,” he said. “This mission is not just about affordable housing, but also about achieving a level of comfort and prosperity among the families who live in affordable housing.”

He said housing authority staff had met with the Resident Advisory Board, which advises the housing authority on public housing units.

“During these discussions, the board envisioned a new educational scholarship program, so the staff decided to go ahead and organize this opportunity,” he said. “This is a new program that is privately funded and offers scholarships to students from families who are in our public housing units and Section 8.”

He said the city will offer $1,500 per student for the fall 2022 school year.

“You must be enrolled in a community college, trade school or university,” he said. “You must be an active household member in Oxnard Housing Authority public housing under the Section 8 scheme. You must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher.”

You must submit an application, letter of recommendation, and essay for staff review.

Ramirez noted for full disclosure that one of the four sponsor companies is his private company.

“The program is new, and it was an idea that came from social housing tenants,” he said. “We’re rolling it out to get applications in within the next few months and to write checks to students before the start of the school year this fall.”

Committee member Oscar Madrigal said there was an essay associated with the application process and he wanted to know what that would mean.

“We ask the student who is applying for the scholarship to say what their career aspirations are,” Ramirez said.

Mayor John Zaragoza stated that they are targeting three people.

“We are awarding three grants of $1,500 plus event expenses donated by one of the sponsors, Chingon Bakery, to host the event,” Ramirez said. “We will invite the mayor, the council and the sponsors to this event. Ventura County Credit Union will sponsor $3,000, Montecito Bank will sponsor $1,500, Chingon Bakery will sponsor the expense of the event and Ramirez will sponsor $1,500.”

Zaragoza noted that the essay is important in this process.

“I think it’s great and it really helps people who need help with college,” Zaragoza said.

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