Organizations Vie For Block Grant Funding

The Center for Great Expectations’ Pam DeLuca speaks to the Township Council about the organization’s CDBG application.

A total of 17 applications for more than $330,000 in Community Development Block Grants were received by the township for 2018.

Representatives of several of the applicants showed up to the March 27 Township Council meeting to make their case for funding.

Not all of those requests will be filled. Deborah Mitchell, the township’s CDBG administrator, said that while this year’s funding has not yet been set, the township received $242,536 in 2017.

“We hope we’re somewhere in that area again for the upcoming year,” she told the council.

Funds come from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Applications come in two categories, public service and public facilities.

The organizations which applied to the public service category, and the amounts for which they asked, are:

  • Middle Earth of Somerville, for its Journeys Program for at-risk youth ages 12-17: $10,389
  • Center for Great Expectations, Katie’s Place, their daycare program: $20,000
  • Recreation Department’s Boys and Girls Council: $15,000;
  • Recreation Department’s Summer Camp: $15,000
  • Central Jersey Housing Resource Center, Raritan: $7,914
  • Franklin Food Bank: $1,500
  • Home Sharing Inc. of Bridgewater: $7,500
  • Grades 4 Life student incentive program: $45,000
  • Marie’s Allied Health & Technical Institute in Franklin: $6,000
  • Sister To Sister: $4,500
  • Week of the People: $25,000

The total funding request in that category is $157,803. Mitchell said the most that could be distributed, depending no how much the township gets from HUD, is $36,380.

Benjamin Guy, a representative of the Week of the People program which sponsors an activity day in the late summer, said the group is looking for funding “for continued service for some of the programs they currently do.”

The organization, he said, “is looking to expand and broaden its horizons in the community.”

Pam DeLuca, the Center for Great Expectations’ grants director, said teh $20,000 they are asking for would go to support staff salaries in Katie’s PLace, which is the center’s daycare.

“We work with 15 to 30 children throughout the year, children whose mothers are dealing with opioid addiction,” she said. “These children have gone through trauma, our staff is trained in trauma-informed care and specific education for children who are dealing with such things in their homes.”

Frank Hasner, executive director of the Franklin Food Bank, said the $1,500 would go toward buying fertilizer and irrigation products for the community farm on Canal Road.

The farm has been “very successful, not only in growing fresh produce, but also in giving the community a chance to assist in feeding their neighbors,” he said.

Organizations asking for funding in the public facilities category, and the amount for which they asked, are:

  • Sister to Sister for landscape revitalization: $14,500
  • ARC of Somerset in Manville, renovations to their Franklin group home: $40,000
  • Franklin Food Bank, expansion: $10,500
  • SCAP, playground equipment installation: $25,000
  • Center for Great Expectations, WiFi thermostats and heat pumps: $18,080
  • Wilentz Senior Center on DeMott Lane, 20 kitchen upgrades and 90 bathroom upgrades: $71,260

DeLuca said the center is looking to install WiFi-based thermostats in one of the center’s houses to increase energy efficiency. The second part of the grant, she said, is needed to “install heating and cooling units in three offices in the basement of the building used to meet with mothers and children for medical evaluation, for educational evaluation and for mental health evaluation.”

Hasner said the food bank is looking for money to buy a cardboard compactor.

The food bank, he said, “gave out 1.3 million pounds of food to Franklin Township residents last year. Unfortunately we create  a lot of waste with that 1.3 million pounds, mostly cardboard and paper.”

“The county has been very helpful giving is containers, but even with those efforts, the bins get filled, and they start to encroach on the grass a little bit,” he said. “We try to keep it as clean as possible.”

The compactor, he said, “will take much less space, it will compact the cardboard. We won’t have issues of it blowing around because it will all be contained.”

“We will try to sell it to probably Colgate paper, right across the street and make a little bit of revenue,” Hasner said. “But the main thing is to show our recycling and keep the neighborhood clean.”

Teh council will make final decisions on the requests at a future meeting.


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