ELIZABETH, Nj - City of Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New Jersey Field Office Director, Justin Scheid; and U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), New Jersey Office of Community Planning and Development Director, Annemarie Uebbing came together with the City of Elizabeth Planning & Community Development Director Eduardo J. Rodriguez and Community Development Program Director Victoria Rivera to highlight Elizabeth partners that receive HUD federal funding from the City of Elizabeth.  

City of Elizabeth partners include Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Community Access Unlimited, Jefferson Park Day Care, Trinitas Health Foundation, and the Elizabeth Development Company.

The celebration took place during Community Development Week, when national Community Development organizations highlight the importance of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), which provides federal funds to cities and organizations for a variety of uses that benefit communities. CD Week also highlights the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), used to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities for low and very low-income residents.

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“As the fourth largest municipality in New Jersey, Elizabeth depends on federal funding such as CDBG to supplement programs and services to assist our residents,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “As we all know it’s been a difficult year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and if these funds were not available, it would be challenging for organizations to provide the tools residents needed in order to improve their quality of life as well as make a difference within their community." 

Year after year, vital community partners serve local communities and provide essential services to residents and small businesses. HUD provides federal funding to local governments who in turn, support local partners in their activities. In the City of Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, Community Access Unlimited, Jefferson Park Day Care, Trinitas Health Foundation, and the Elizabeth Development Company provide support to residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these local organizations met difficult challenges to provide services and keep residents safe. 

“HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Program is a flexible funding tool that assists communities and partners in providing necessary services to local residents. CDBG is also essential during disasters and emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, responding to the immediate needs of New Jerseyans during difficult times,” said Justin Scheid, HUD Newark Field Office Director. “The HOME Program helps municipalities and partners provide housing to low and very low-income families, stabilizing households and communities to help improve their lives.”  

HUD provides CDBG and HOME funding annually to Entitlement Communities such as the City of Elizabeth. In 2020, HUD provided $1,595,544 in CDBG funding, and $1,619,655 in 2021. HUD also allocated HOME funding, $907,925 in 2020, and $926,612 in 2021. 

HUD CDBG-CV Program is the program that provides HUD emergency funding to local governments and New Jersey residents to prepare, prevent or respond to COVID-19. During the pandemic, HUD provided $2,510,116 in CDBG-CV funding to assist Elizabeth grantees and residents during this difficult time. HOME Funds were reallocated to provide rental assistance.  

The Elizabeth Development Company is a vital partner in the economic development of the City. It is a one-stop-shop that provides capital, technical assistance, and leverages funding to expand job opportunities in Elizabeth. 

“The CDBG funding has been an essential component of providing assistance to keep small businesses open during this pandemic,” said William O’Dea, Executive Director of the Elizabeth Development Company. “Without the grant and loan funding we offer as a lifeline, dozens of more local businesses would have gone out of business.” 

The Elizabeth Coalition for the Homeless serves the homeless and poor in Union County. Alongside St. Joseph Social Service Center, they provide a safety net to over 2,500 individuals every year with emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, and comprehensive services that help families work toward self-sufficiency. When the pandemic hit, this community partner responded to residents in need.  

“The pandemic has placed low-income renters already tottering on the edge of the homeless abyss even further to the edge. Many have jobs are not coming back anytime soon and yet others are "essential" workers that have continued to work as CoVid wreaked havoc on them and their families. Families on fixed incomes had more expenses as they had to depend on delivery services for food, medicine, and other essentials. The bottom line is that they are behind on their rent and in danger of being evicted at the end of the moratorium. CDBG made the difference to allow them to catch up and restore the relationship with their landlords. We are grateful to work with the City of Elizabeth to bring these funds to the Elizabeth Community,” said Linda Flores- Tober Executive Director Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.

Community Access Unlimited (CAU) is a Union County-based nonprofit that serves people with disabilities and at-risk youth across New Jersey. CAU gives a voice to individuals who historically hold little power in society, assisting our members with housing, life skills, employment, personal finance, relationships, civic engagement, and much more. 

“COVID-19 has had a great impact on the community and the families living paycheck to paycheck. The pandemic not only affected people’s income, but also their health and mental wellbeing. Many of the clients we served lost employment and were unable to return to work during the shutdown. We had several clients sick with COVID-19 and unable to complete day to day tasks because of it; without support, many families would not have had the resources to gain access to the essentials like food and shelter. CDBG helped these families alleviate the stress and pressure of financial hardships the pandemic has caused. Without these funds, both the families and landlords would not be able to recover from the loss. We are proud to work alongside with the City of Elizabeth and the Elizabeth Coalition to distribute these funds to the community in need,” said Jeanette Lebron Assistant Executive Director of Program Development to Community Access Unlimited.