ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO PRESENTS $4.4 MILLION IN COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANTS
16 Municipalities and 32 Non-Profit Organizations Receive Funding for Infrastructure Improvements, Community Programs and Building Renovations
Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced $4.4 million will be distributed to 16 Essex County municipalities and 32 non-profit community organizations through the Community Development Block Grant program on Tuesday, January 29th. The CDBG program is 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 programs are direct investments to provide services that enhance our quality of life and help stabilize our neighborhoods by modernizing our infrastructure,” 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 economic development in our downtown commercial areas,” he added.
“Particularly during these difficult economic times, the CDBG program offers financial support for emergency services and assists municipalities with infrastructure improvements they might not otherwise be able to afford,” NJ State Senator and Essex County Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said. “The program today epitomizes the role of government, which is to be part of the equation to help improve the quality of life for our residents,” she added.
“I know the positive implications that this funding has for our non-profit organizations and municipalities,” Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said. “These dollars are very important because they help maintain services,” she added.
“Each of the grants we are awarding brings vital services and improvements to our communities,” said Freeholder Blonnie Watson, who was accompanied by Freeholders Brendan Gill and Leonard Luciano. “Thank you for the positive results you bring to our neighborhoods,” she said to the grant recipients.
A total of $3,141,354 was awarded to 16 municipalities and County programs in the Essex County consortium. Grant funding will be used to repave roadways, improve handicapped accessibility at public buildings and upgrade sidewalks. Grants ranged in size from $25,000 to Roseland to make the public library restrooms handicap accessible to $410,391 to the City of Orange for improvements to Alden Street and support for community organizations providing a food pantry and mental health services. Essex County was provided with $890,884 for program oversight, monitoring and administration. Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington and Newark apply for CDBG funding independently and do not participate in the Essex County consortium. Essex Fells and North Caldwell did not submit applications. (A chart of all the recipients is attached.)
A total of $1,313,066 was awarded to the non-profit community organizations. Grant funding will support services for seniors and the disabled, recreation activities for children, mental health counseling, foreclosure prevention, food pantries, medical testing, counseling and education, and facility renovations. Grants ranged in size from $5,000 to Above the Rim, Inc. from Newark for a youth development program $65,000 to Northwest Essex Community Healthcare, with facilities in Belleville and Montclair, for building renovations. Essex County was provided with a $770,867 grant for a home improvement program and $93,210 for the Tenant Resource Center. (A chart of all the recipients is attached.)
“The beauty of the CDBG program is its ability to fund a broad array of projects without affecting the budgets of the County, municipalities or organizations receiving the grants. This is a great 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 economic growth, 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 Community Economic Revitalization Program for façade improvements 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.