Area towns, nonprofits share $481,959 in CDBG funds
August 22, 2017 John Snyder - Northern Valley Press
BY JOHN SNYDER
OF NORTHERN VALLEY PRESS
ENGLEWOOD, N.J.-—The City of Englewood landed $142,175 for improvements to East Palisade Avenue.
Tenafly pulled in $81,401 for Grove Street’s rehabilitation.
Englewood’s Infant/Senior Sharing Project won $21,810 for its infant/toddler day care center.
Calvary Cares Development Corp., also of Englewood, got $10,000 for its SMART Kids after-school program.
And the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, a 150-acre preserve and education center in Englewood, got $11,262 for its Bridges to Flat Rock program.
And there’s more. As part of an overall $600,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds secured by municipalities and nonprofits from here to Northvale, regional interests received $481,959 in allocations for the program’s 2016-2017 grant cycle.
Six million dollars was allocated this grant cycle in the 70 municipalities of Bergen County.
Down to the dollar, recipients hailing from CDBG’s Northern Valley, Pascack Valley and Southeast regions cleared a combined $599,648 in this grant cycle. (Other communities joining us in the CDBG region but are outside of our family of newspapers’ circulation area are not included in this roundup.)
The funds support such community development activities as public infrastructure improvements, housing activities, economic development, job training programs and public service.
Other recipients this year supporting our communities include Vantage Health System’s Northern Valley Adult Day Care Center ($29,500) and Spectrum For Living’s Northern Valley Respite and Socialization Program ($11,200).
Haworth now has the $60,000 it needed for a handicap accessible bathroom at the Swim Club.
Similar bathroom accessibility improvements are funded to the tune of $40,500 at Demarest’s police station.
A much needed $32,000 went to Westwood-based Meals on Wheels North Jersey, Northern Valley Region.
And Northvale’s James F. McGuire Memorial Senior Center now has the $38,000 it expected to help fund operations.
Closter, Demarest, Harrington Park, Haworth and Norwood got thousands of dollars for senior activities and van drivers.
The money, which came from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is allocated under a renewable three-year agreement of HUD, Bergen County and the county’s 70 municipalities. Towns appoint representatives to their regional committees annually, and these leaders partner in divvying available funds.
Nonprofits can apply for funds but their leaders don’t have a seat at the table.
Meals on Wheels North Jersey’s executive director, Jeanne Martin, told the Northern Valley Press that her organization’s 2016-2017 allocation of $32,000—actually, four allocations of $8,000 as the organization applied in the four CDBG regions it serves—represents 10 percent of its annual budget.
The organization’s volunteers deliver a nutritious hot meal, a sandwich, fruit, juice, milk and dessert to 220 low-income seniors in their homes who pay $7.35 a day to eat.
The organization also combats the problem of senior isolation and provides wellness checks.
“We try very hard not to raise our rates even as our costs are going up. The people we serve really are struggling because it is so expensive here. For those with health issues, the decision can come down to buying medicine or food,” Martin said.
The chairs of the program’s six regional committees comprise the Bergen Countywide Region, which takes up countywide needs seeking their own allocations.
The Northern Valley Region also consists of Alpine, Bergenfield, Closter, Cresskill, New Milford, Rockleigh, Teaneck and Tenafly.
According to Robert G. Esposito, director of the Bergen County Division of Community Development, the program is meant to get down to the grass roots and empower communities.
“It provides an opportunity for the county and towns to partner on lots of interesting things to improve the quality of life in Bergen County,” he told the Pascack Press in a telephone interview.
This year’s allocations, expected from HUD months ago “are unprecedented in their lateness,” Esposito said.
He explained that allocations for 2017-2018 are standing by for HUD approval and should be announced in October.
According to Esposito, part of the formula for deciding how much an applicant receives is based on income demographics that HUD supplies.
A notable exception to the income rule: allocations targeting handicapped accessibility are not considered by income, Esposito said.