By: Lauren T. Agnew
Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that about $5.88 million will be distributed to 10 Essex County municipalities and 28 community organizations through the Community Development Block Grant program and the Emergency Solutions Grant program on Wednesday, January 19th.
The CDBG and ESG programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Essex County Division of Housing and Community Development.
“Programs supported through the CDBG and ESG programs are direct investments to provide services that enhance our quality of life and help stabilize our neighborhoods by modernizing our infrastructure and supporting programs that assist vulnerable populations,” DiVincenzo said.
“These federal grants enable us to upgrade our sidewalks and roads, enhance handicap access, address mental health needs, support food pantries, and stimulate the overall development in our communities,” he added.
A total of $4,550,238 was awarded to 10 municipalities and County programs in the Essex County consortium.
Grant funding will be used to repave roadways, improve handicapped accessibility at public buildings, install new sidewalks, improve water and sewer lines, and enhance park facilities.
Grants ranged in size from $30,000 to Roseland for ADA improvements at Tedesco Park to $355,300 to West Orange for roadway improvements to Ashwood Terrace, William Street and Valley Road and to support the Bethany Center, Main Street Counseling Center and Jesus, Other, Yourself Church of God.
Essex County was provided with $1,048,223 for program oversight, monitoring and administration and $1,856,090 for roadway improvements to Sanford Avenue in Newark and Irvington.
Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington and Newark apply for CDBG funding independently and do not participate in the Essex County consortium. Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell Verona and West Caldwell did not submit applications.
A total of $690,800 was awarded directly to non-profit community organizations.
Grant funding will support mental health counseling, supportive services for disabled residents, vocational rehabilitative services, facility upgrades and the purchase of vehicles. Grants ranged in size from $9,800 to Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan New Jersey in Newark to provide HIV prevention, testing and counseling services to $48,000 to the Family Service League in Montclair for supportive services for domestic violence victims.
Essex County was provided with grants of $300,000 for the Home Improvement Program and $100,000 for the Tenant Resource Center.
A total of $469,298 was awarded to seven local social service agencies through the Emergency Solutions Grant program.
Funding will be used to renovate shelter facilities, support housing programs and homeless prevention services, and street outreach initiatives.
Grants range in size from $10,000 to United Community Corporation in Newark for homeless prevention activities to $138,000 to YMCA of Newark and Vicinity for emergency shelter operations.
Essex County was provided with a $35,197 grant to administer the program.
“The beauty of the CDBG and ESG programs is their ability to fund a broad array of projects without affecting the budgets of the County, municipalities, or organizations receiving the grants.
This is an excellent example of a tax relief program that benefits all County citizens,” said Anibal Ramos, Director of the Essex County Department of Economic Development, Training and Employment.
Municipalities and non-profit organizations must meet specific criteria established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be eligible for grant funding.
These funds have no impact on the County budget and cannot be used as revenue in the County’s operating budget.
The Essex County Division of Housing and Community Development, located at 20 Crestmont Road in Verona/Montclair, offers a variety of assistance programs designed to stimulate community development, stabilize residential neighborhoods and improve the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents.
It administers the Community Development Block Grant Program, Home Improvement Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant program for the County and 18 Essex municipalities. Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington and Newark have their own housing and development programs.
For more information, call the Essex County Division of Housing and Community Development at 973-655-0200.