New Scholarship Program moves forward

Housing Director Emilio Ramirez (Photo courtesy City of Oxnard)

Housing Director Emilio Ramirez (Photo courtesy City of Oxnard)

Oxnard– The Community Services, Public Safety, Housing & Development Committee, Tuesday, April 26, approved the Oxnard Housing Authority Education Scholarship Program.

The approval allows the program to be presented to the Board of Commissioners.

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

Housing Director Emilio Ramirez presented the item, and he called the scholarship an exciting new program that he hopes to launch.

He said the Housing Authority’s mission promotes the city’s general welfare by remedying unsafe and substandard housing and relieving the affordable housing shortage in the city.

“The Housing Authority and Housing Department pursue that mission every day,” he said. “That mission is not only about affordable housing but about reaching a level of comfort and success amongst the families that live in affordable housing.”

He said the Housing Authority staff has met with the Resident Advisory Board that advises the Housing Authority on public housing units.

“During those conversations, the board envisioned a new Education Scholarship Program, so staff decided to go ahead and organize that opportunity,” he said. “This is a new program, privately funded, offering scholarships to students of families that are in our Public Housing Units and Section 8.”

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

“They must be enrolled in a Community College or Vocational School or a University,” he said. “They have to be an active household member in the Oxnard Housing Authority’s Public Housing under the Section 8 Program. They must have a 2.5 grade point average or higher.”

They must submit an application, letter of recommendation, and an essay for the staff to review.

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

“The program is new, and it was an idea that came forth from the tenants of the Public Housing,” he said. “We are launching it in an effort to have applications start to come in within the next couple of months and in an effort to deliver checks to students before they start the school year this fall.”

Committee Member Oscar Madrigal said there is an essay involved with the application process, and he wanted to know what that would entail.

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

Mayor John Zaragoza noted that they are targeting three individuals.

“We are giving out three $1,500 scholarships, plus the cost of the events that have been 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 that event. Ventura County Credit Union is sponsoring at $3,000, Montecito Bank is sponsoring at $1,500, Chingon Bakery is going to sponsor the cost of the event, and Ramirez is at $1,500.”

Zaragoza noted that the essay is important in the process.

“I think this is great and really helps individuals that need the help with college,” Zaragoza said.

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