ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. announced on that about $4.5 million will be distributed to 16 Essex County municipalities and 39 non-profit community organizations through the Community Development Block Grant program and the Emergency Solutions Grant program on Tuesday, March 1. 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.
Other elected officials attending the ceremony spoke about how important the CDBG and
ESG programs are for the community.
NJ state Sen. and Deputy Chief of Staff Teresa Ruiz said she is encouraged when she hears stories of the projects completed and programs supported with CDBG and ESG funds. “All of you gathered with us today provide the connecting services that help us continue Putting Essex County First,” she noted.
“These programs have been around for generations and everyone knows the value of CDBG and ESG,” Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver said. “They permit non-profits organizations to provide essential services and help our towns with a variety of brick and mortar projects to enhance their downtowns,” she pointed out.
“It’s an honor to be here among the municipalities and service organizations that help make our county turn. People need the services you provide and these programs provide great assistance in helping you,” Freeholder President Britnee Timberlake said.
“These are great programs that assist children and senior citizens, and help municipalities develop streetscapes and encourage economic development,” Freeholder Vice President Brendan Gill noted.
A total of $3,444,239 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, modernize recreation facilities and install new sidewalks. Grants ranged in size from $22,000 to Cedar Grove to install ADA-compliant bleachers and a concrete walkway in Panther Park to $459,242 to Orange for improvements to the High and Alden Street Park and Metcalf Park and support for community organizations providing after school and enrichment programs, a food pantry and mental health services. In addition, for the first time in recent history, three municipalities — Caldwell, Roseland and West Caldwell — have pooled their allocation for a bus they will share for a senior transportation program. Essex County was provided with $1,022,187 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 total of $1,101,846 was awarded directly to non-profit community organizations. Grant funding will support after school, nursing, youth mentoring, vocational training, and housing and foreclosure education programs; facility renovations and senior support services. Grants ranged in size from $7,000 to ASUN Star in Orange for an after school program and $7,000 to Big Brothers & Big Sisters in Newark for a youth mentoring program to $53,800 to Northwest Essex Community Healthcare, with facilities in Belleville and Montclair, for building renovations and counseling services. Essex County was provided with a $693,196 grant for a home improvement program and $93,000 for the Tenant Resource Center.
A total of $410,520 was awarded to nine local social service agencies through the Emergency Solutions Grant program. Funding will be used to renovate shelter facilities and support housing programs and homeless prevention services. Grants range in size from $10,000 to Isaiah House in East Orange, Fairmont Health Services in Newark and House in Newark for emergency shelter operations to $100,231 to the YMCA of Newark and Vicinity to support emergency shelter operations and provide rapid re-housing activities. Essex County was provided with a $30,789 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 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 nonprofit 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 development in communities, 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.