CEDAR GROVE, NJ — Two Livingston-based nonprofit organizations, including and the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) Essex County chapter and ARC of Essex County, were among the 33 nonprofits to receive funding as part of Essex County’s $5.5 million in community development block grants (CDBG) and emergency solutions grants (ESG).

The $9,800 awarded to NCJW will supports its job-readiness program, and the $29,400 awarded to ARC of Essex County will be used toward the purchase of an accessible vehicle.

The total of about $5.5 million from the CDBG and ESG programs represents an increase of about $400,000 over the previous year, according to the county. The CDBG and ESG programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Essex County Division of Housing and Community Development.

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“Programs supported through the CDBG and ESG programs are direct investments to provide services that enhance our quality of life and help stabilize our neighborhoods by modernizing our infrastructure and supporting programs that assist vulnerable populations,” said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr., who presented the grants to recipients during a ceremony in Cedar Grove. “These federal grants enable us to upgrade our sidewalks and roads, enhance handicap access, address mental health needs, support food pantries and stimulate the overall development in our communities.”

Essex County Freeholder Patricia Sebold, a longtime Livingston resident, said that no matter where she goes in Essex County, she sees projects supported by the CDBG program.

“So many residents are receiving critical needs because of these federal grant programs,” said Freeholder President Brendan Gill. “Looking at all the municipalities and community groups that have applied displays the diversity of our county as well.”

More than $3 million in grant funding was distributed to 12 municipalities in order to help repave roadways, improve handicapped accessibility at public buildings, modernize playgrounds, install new sidewalks and acquire a bus for senior transportation. Grants ranged in size from $34,055 to Millburn to enhance barrier-free access in the Millburn municipal building restrooms to $414,000 to West Orange for improvements to Tompkins Street and Stockman Street and support the Bethany Center for Champions.

Nearly $2 million was awarded to 33 non-profit community organizations to support after school enrichment, job readiness, youth mentoring and senior support programs, vehicle purchases, renovations to make facilities ADA-compliant and programs to raise awareness about foreclosures. Grants ranged in size from $6,860 to Big Brothers & Big Sisters in Newark for a youth mentoring program to $72,240 to Northwest Essex Community Healthcare in Belleville and Montclair for barrier-free improvements to restrooms and building entrances and transitional counseling services.

A total of $423,923 was also awarded to nine local social service agencies through the ESG program that will be used to renovate shelter facilities, support housing programs and homeless prevention services and support a drop-in center.

“The beauty of the CDBG and ESG programs is their ability to fund a broad array of projects without affecting the budgets of the county, municipalities or organizations receiving the grants,” said Anibal Ramos, director of the Essex County Department of Economic

Development, Training and Employment. “This is a great example of a tax relief program that benefits all county citizens.”

Municipalities and non-profit organizations must meet specific criteria established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be eligible for grant funding. The county noted that funds have no impact on the county budget and cannot be used as revenue in the county’s operating budget.

It was also noted that Bloomfield, East Orange, Irvington and Newark apply for CDBG funding independently and do not participate in the Essex County consortium. Caldwell, Essex Fells, Livingston, North Caldwell, Roseland and West Caldwell did not submit applications.