BAYONNE, NJ - Not for profit organizations in Bayonne will be vying for less Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding this year, even though the overall need for their services may be increasing.

This is the message that officials delivered during the introductory hearing at Bayonne City Hall on Jan. 9, outlining the criteria that would allow various groups to get a share of the $1.4 million that will be available. In 2018 $1.5 million was made available through the federal program.

Funded through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) CDBG funds reimburse various groups for portions of projects benefiting often the poorest people in the city – provided these groups meet rigid criteria set by the federal government.

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This year is also critical, local officials said, because the program is undergoing a review of community needs, something that occurs every five years to allow local and federal officials to assess community needs and determin what resources are available. 

Such a review could help align charities with needs, and readjust the criteria to better fit the community, Samantha Howard, executive director of the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Fund (BEOC) said.

Also overshadowing this year’s assessment is the upcoming 2020 national census, which could have a huge impact on the funding Bayonne gets in the future. An under count – especially among those residents most in need of services – could result in Bayonne being short-changed when it comes to allocations of future aid.

Howard encouraged these groups to get involved in the census – which will start in April – to assure that there is a full count.

In order to help these groups meet the criteria for receiving CDGB grants, the city has brought on Triad Associates which will meet with representatives from each group.

Melissa Walsh, from Triad, said a review of Bayonne’s past compliance shows the city is in good standing when it comes to the CDBG program.

About a dozen people representing groups such as the Bayonne Economic Opportunity Fund, the Garden State Episcopal Center, Bayonne Mental Health Center, Windmill Alliance, Bayonne Nature Club, Hudson Milestones, Bayonne Family Community Center, UCP of Hudson County, and Bayonne PAL attended the first meeting which was designed to provide groups with the basic information about the grants, such as the criteria that must be met. 

A workshop meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Bayonne Museum at 229 Broadway at 9th Street.

The workshop will help the groups submitting applications for the grants.

While each group’s program must meet three national objectives that include helping people of low and moderate income, preventing or eliminating conditions that lead to blight or slums, or provide services to people with some other urgent need, each group must meet strict guideless, especially when it comes to administrative costs.

Service groups must also meet standards for labor such as paying prevailing wages and showing its ability to actually perform the tasks it claims to offer. This means a lot of red tape and record keeping.

Howard said that because there isn’t enough money for every group to get all that they request it is wise for them to partner with other funding sources, allowing the CDBG funding to reach as many groups as possible.

Applications must be submitted by Feb. 21 with supporting documentation.

Subject to review from HUD, the city decides which projects to administer grants to, as well as the amount. In the event that money is left over after all the grants are awarded, the city will decide where to direct the additional funds.

For more information contact Samantha Howard at CDBG@baynj.org.