Freeholders Approve $1.25 Million Grant for Lakewood Projects

freeholder little TLSMore than $2 million in federal grants for projects ranging from rental assistance to handicapped-accessible sidewalks should soon be on its way to Ocean County.

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved a Consortium Action Plan that will bring both a $1.16 million Community Development Block Grant and a $903,604 federal HOME grant to the county.

“These funds play an important role in combating poverty in Ocean County,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little

The HOME money will also be used for rental housing rehabilitation, development of affordable housing and the First-Time Homebuyers program, Little said.

Since 1992, Ocean County has received more than $32.7 million from the program.

“Using these funds, we have been able to help 475 families make a down payment on a new home through the First Time Homebuyers Program,” Little said. “This year, we estimate another 16 families will receive funding for their down payment.”

The Housing Rehabilitation Program has helped repair 231 existing homes. This year, another five homes will be rehabilitated.

Little said Rental Assistance has to date helped 760 families afford a place to live. In 2015, another 30 families will receive $1,022 per month for 24 months.

Under the Community Development Block Grant program, $379,000 will be awarded to 13 municipal projects including handicapped accessibility, street, sidewalk and curb improvements and housing rehabilitation.

Another $200,000 is allocated for 15 public service activities, including food distribution, counseling, day care centers, domestic violence and youth runaway centers, homeless assistance, visiting homecare services and senior housing.

Another $372,000 in CDBG funds are allocated for housing rehabilitation and emergency housing repairs.

Since 1985, the county has also rehabilitated 695 homes using CDBG funds.

This year, another 25 units will be repaired.

Some of Ocean County’s larger towns, including Toms River, Lakewood, Brick and Jackson townships receive their own individual grants.

This year Brick will receive $304,923, Toms River $392,911, Lakewood $1.25 million and Jackson $197,585.

The county held 33 public hearings on the action plan prior to the Freeholders approving the measure on May 6.

Little said 740 county residents also responded to a survey, which had been made available at the County Connection and through the Ocean County Planning Department’s website.

“The survey results were considered in the development of the action plan,” he said.

The grant monies are expected to be available later this summer.

[TLS]

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