WASHINGTON, DC — Belmar Housing Authority will receive some $22,000 in federal assistance to help cover coronavirus-related costs at the borough’s senior housing building.

The authority is among 26 agencies in the state to be granted more than $23 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, awarded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Congressman Chris Smith, (R-4th District), who supported the legislation signed by President Trump in March, said the funding will bolster financial resources for the management, maintenance and resident services in facilities hit hard by COVID-19 response.

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“Housing authorities have incurred significant, unanticipated expenses for crucial actions needed to protect lives, such as constant cleaning and sanitizing, and the related supplies needed to keep their housing facilities safer due to the coronavirus response,” said Smith, whose district includes Belmar and Lake Como. “One of the ways to stop the virus is to keep a cleaner, sanitized environment,” he said.

Paul DeSantis, executive director of the Belmar Housing Authority, said there is a great need for the funding at the Eighth Avenue facility, which houses 53 residents —both seniors and individuals with disabilities.

“This funding will help a lot to cover the costs we’ve incurred since the start of the pandemic,” DeSantis said.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been an increased emphasis on cleaning and sanitation procedures at the building to keep the building’s residents and staff safe, said Belmar Councilman James McCracken, liaison to the authority, at the governing body’s May 5 meeting.

During the public health crisis, residents have also greatly appreciated the meals they have received, courtesy of several charitable organizations and businesses, he said.

And traveling over the Route 35 bridge at night, the high-rise building cannot be missed. It's the one with the word “hope” in red, white and blue lights and a large cross in white lights on its roof, illuminating Belmar's eastern skyline.

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