Ocean County Participates in CDBG Program Since 1984
TOMS RIVER – Ocean County expects to distribute about $940,000 in federal funds to municipalities and public agencies for housing rehabilitation and municipal and public service projects.
"Ocean County has been participating in the federal Community Development Block Grant Program since 1984," said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Planning Department, which administers the program. "Many great projects have resulted from the distribution of these funds."
Ocean County anticipates allocating $352,000 for 11 municipal projects such as handicap accessibility, street, sidewalk and curb improvements. In addition, about $180,000 will be allocated for 12 public service activities such as food distribution, counseling and day care centers, domestic violence and youth runaway centers, homeless assistance, visiting homecare services and senior services, while $226,000 will be appropriated for housing related programs.
"Because of anticipated federal funding cuts and changes in the census, we are anticipating that the 2013 appropriation will be about 10 percent less than 2012," Little said. "We are still waiting on the final numbers."
Little said the county anticipates $826,000 for HOME funding for fiscal year 2013.
"This money helps our residents with their housing needs," Little said. "The funds are used to repair existing homes or help families take the necessary steps into their first home."
For instance, Little said that under the First Time Homebuyers program 440 families have received down payment assistance for purchase of a home under the program for a total real estate value in Ocean County of $58 million.
Approximately 22 individuals/families will receive assistance with FY 2013 funding.
In addition, a total of 656 housing units have been rehabilitated under the CDBG Housing Rehabilitation Program since 1984. Approximately 22 units will be rehabilitated during FY 2013.
Little said the county also anticipates using about $665,000 for the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program which includes funds from 2013 and 2012.
"Additional funding was recommended to accommodate the increased rental demand as a result of Superstorm Sandy," Little said. "Waivers were requested and approved by HUD."
He said 653 families have been provided rent subsidies under the Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program to date.
The average rental subsidy provided in 2012 was $923 per month for a 24 month period.
"We anticipate assisting 65 families this year under this program," he said.
In addition, $200,000 will be provided for Superstorm Sandy Relief and Recovery. The money will be allocated to OCEAN, Inc.'s Community Partners Outreach and Relief Program for eligible residents of Ocean County affected by Superstorm Sandy.
"This money will be used for rental assistance, security deposits, relocation assistance, home repairs not covered by insurance and/or FEMA, plumbing and gas line penetration, replacement of insulation and other weatherization replacements, counseling, and food assistance," Little said. "With so many of our residents directly impacted by this storm, it is important to help our residents get back to their homes."
Municipalities that receive separate CDBG entitlements and the amounts that are anticipated are: Brick Township, $247,351, Toms River Township, $332,090, Lakewood Township, $785,743 and Jackson Township, $174,674. However, Jackson Township's funds will be included in the total County allocation since the County administers their program.
"Over the years, 549 municipal projects were completed under the CDBG program, 165 of which were public service projects," Little said.
Little noted that while some of the CDBG money is being used for Superstorm Sandy relief, this allocation is separate from the $1.8 billion that will be distributed by the state that will help in the recovery of the storm.
Freeholder Director John P. Kelly said the CDBG Steering Committee works diligently every year in reviewing funding requests.
"I want to thank the committees' chairwoman Patricia Moran and all the members who work so hard to make certain this funding continues to come to Ocean County and provides the money for many important projects," Kelly said.