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Community Access Unlimited Receives $25,000 Major Grant from The Provident Bank Foundation

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Jane Kurek (center right), executive director of The Provident Bank Foundation, presents a $25,000 grant to Sid Blanchard (center right), executive director of Community Access Unlimited.
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ELIZABETH, NJ--Community Access Unlimited (CAU) of Elizabeth, New Jersey, is pleased to announce that they are the recipient of a $25,000 Major Grant from the  Provident Bank Foundation (PBF). CAUNJ will use the funding toward the purchase of a new, handicap-accessible van as part of their Mobile Street Outreach program which helps the organization reach and connects with runaway and homeless youth in Union County.

"Through the generosity of The Provident Bank Foundation, Community Access will be able to significantly increase our ability to locate and help youth who, for whatever reason, are living on the street, which places them at great risk, both physically and emotionally," said Marie Guillaume, director of CAU's Youth Shelter.

CAU is a statewide Union County-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing support in areas including housing, vocational skills, and life-skills training, education, advocacy, and recreation. CAU also operates the Union County Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter and operates the Mobile Outreach Program for runaway and homeless youth in Elizabeth.

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The Union County Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelter provide runaway and homeless youth with shelter, food, and programs that enable them to move toward a safer, healthier and more productive lifestyle within the community, according to Guillaume. Support services include shelter, food, clothing and medical attention; education; life skills training; employment assistance; and linkage to transitional and permanent housing options if family reunification is not achieved.

The shelter can accommodate up to five youth at a time and provided support for 13 runaway and homeless youth between October 1, 2016, and Sept. 30, 2017. Through its Mobile Outreach Program, CAU reaches out to youth living on the street in an attempt to move them into the shelter and begin the process of support.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports the largest homeless population in the United States is youth between the ages of 12 and 18 and that one in seven youth will experience homelessness. More than 24 percent of the Union County population of approximately 555,000 is below the age of 18. The 2016 Union County Point in Time Count of the Homeless indicated that among the 513 people counted, 161 were children under 18 years old and 7.5 percent of them reported some type of disability. In Union County, the City of Elizabeth has the highest rate of homelessness among all 21 municipalities.

PBF’s Major Grants fund projects and/or programs that address one or more of its funding priority areas – Community Enrichment, Education and Health, Youth and Families. Major Grants provide between $5,000 and $25,000 in funding and support organizations that have identified an immediate need in the community and the individuals they serve.

For more information about CAU and its services, contact 908-354-3040, or visit them online at www.caunj.org. For more information about The Provident Bank Foundation, visit www.theprovidentbankfoundation.org or call (862) 260-3990.

About Community Access Unlimited

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 38th year in 2017, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil right. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

About The Provident Bank Foundation

The Provident Bank Foundation was established in 2003 by Provident Bank to enhance the quality of life in the region through support of not-for-profit groups, institutions, schools and other 501(c)(3) organizations that provide services in communities served by the Bank. Since inception, the Foundation has granted more than $22 million to not-for-profit organizations and institutions working toward stronger communities. For more information about The Provident Bank Foundation, visit www.theprovidentbankfoundation.org or call (862) 260-3990.

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