Ocean County Press Release

TOMS RIVER - The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously agreed to seek more than $1.4 million in federal grants to combat homelessness in 2014.

The Freeholders on Wednesday held the final public hearing on $989,514 in federal HOME funding grants.

The money will be used for rental housing, rental assistance, housing rehabilitation and the First-Time Homebuyers program.

"With this money, which represents a 4 percent increase over 2013, we will continue to support these vital programs to help our less-fortunate families have a roof over their heads," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

The public hearing also addressed more than $1,043,916 million in Community Development Block Grants, some of which is also devoted to homeless programs.

Allocations include $285,750 for both housing rehabilitation and emergency housing rehabilitation.

A portion of the grant money will also help pay for a number programs for low-income, disabled and senior residents.

Among the recipients are King of Kings Community Church for a homeless shelter, Interfaith Hospitality Network for a shelter and assistance to homeless families with children, Hometown Heroes for housing assistance, Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Ocean County Hunger Relief.

Remaining funding is allocated for senior transportation, handicapped access in various towns and other programs.
Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Department of Planning, said the Freeholders have a long history of using these federal funds to help the county's low-income population.

"To date, more than 1,000 housing units have been rehabilitated for low-income families," Little said. "Our First-Time Homebuyers program has assisted 456 families in purchasing their first home."

Little said another 718 families have been provided with rental subsidies through the federal grants.

A total of six public hearings were held on the grant applications and the funding recommendations were made by the County Housing Advisory Committee and the CDBG Steering Committee, which consists of a representative from each of the county's participating municipalities.

Brick, Lakewood, Toms River and Jackson townships make their own separate applications for CDBG funds.

Together, the county's four largest towns are expected to receive $1,918,712 in funding.

Monies are expected to be available in July.

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