Government

Leaders Meet to Protest Proposed Elimination of Community Development Block Grants

Sheriff Joseph Cryan addresses CDBG press conference. Credits: Fran Sullivan
4b59f35eb2b7470c0ae6_CDBG_press_release.jpg
Credits: Fran Sullivan
4b59f35eb2b7470c0ae6_CDBG_press_release.jpg

ELIZABETH, NJ – Sheriff Joseph Cryan looked out from the podium at Saint Joseph’s Social Service Center on Division Street and declared, “The budget isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the people.”

The budget Cryan, who is currently running for state senator, is referring to is the proposed federal budget where President Trump is seeking to slash funding for Community Development Block Grants from $81.3 million to 0.

The prospect of losing CDBG funding brought out city, county, state, and federal leaders to a press conference April 24 at Saint Joseph’s. Present to voice their opposition to the cuts were Mayor Christian Bollwage, Assembly members Jamel Holley and Annette Quijano, representatives of senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, Freeholders Sergio Granados and Angel Estrada, and City Council President Carlos Torres, as well as Sheriff Cryan. Also in attendance were County Manager Al Faella, Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski, and Councilman Kevin Kiniery.

Sign Up for E-News

“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 Bollwage. “Recently, the President proposed the elimination of this program, which will have a negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of our local community. Cutting subsidies to meet a budget without talking to constituents or organizations is just not the answer, and I encourage all of you, who are here today, to reach out to Congress and show your support for this vital program.”

The grants support a variety of programs and services such as low income and senior housing, youth programs such as Big Brother and Big Sister, homeless prevention programs, and infrastructure projects. In Elizabeth, CDBG has helped provide assistance to first-time homebuyers, make funding available for necessary infrastructure improvements, delivers a safety presence in neighborhoods and creates recreational opportunities for residents.

According to the CDBG website, “The CDBG program works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities, and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses. CDBG is important tools for helping local governments tackle serious challenges facing their communities. The CDBG program has made a difference in the lives of millions of people and their communities across the Nation.”

In Union County, 19 communities receive CDBG funding for a total $1.65 million, according Freeholder vice chair Granados. “These programs are vital to our community. CDBG are not something we play with. These programs affect people’s lives.”  

Granados also spoke of the threat to HOME funds, a federal assistance program provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He reported that this funding expanded access to 848 units of housing, including 330 senior housing, 166 homebuyer assistance, 71 units of special needs housing, and 281 low-income housing.

CDBG funding also spurs investment in the community. For every $1 of CDBG money, $3.65 is generated and matched in private investments, according to Senator Robert Menendez’s office. “This program empowers cities,” said the senator in a written message to the audience. “Over 1,200 state and local governments use these grants.”

“I almost fell off my chair when I heard the president was thinking of eliminating this program,” said Assemblywoman Quijano. “How can anyone cut the Adult Literacy Program? These programs are safety nets, homeless shelters, youth music and art programs. I stand ready with my colleagues in the Assembly to fight this because, let’s be honest, these are the values we hold.”  

Added her colleague Assemblyman Jamel Holley, “From my tenure as Mayor of Roselle to now being the current Assemblyman for the 20th Legislative District, I have watched CDBG act as a catalyst for community transformations, provide affordable and suitable housing as well as create jobs for people in Roselle, throughout Union County and all around the country. All of us here today are dedicated to the restoration and continuation of the Community Development Block Grant - let us send a strong message that the cuts to this program are unacceptable. The Trump Administration needs to appropriately fund CDBG so that we can continue moving forward and help our communities grow.”

Linda Tober-Flores, executive director of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless, spoke first hand of the importance of these grants. “These funds are an investment in the community. It says we matter.”

She continued to say that 78 percent of the people who come to the Coalition are working poor families, struggling to make ends meet. “We have helped 1,500 people with these funds. People come to us every day, and they are working. We need to fight for these families. No is not an acceptable answer in our community.”

Mayor Bollwage launched a call to action asking the audience to contact their representatives to push for keeping the CDBG funding. “Every year, we highlight the success of the CDBG. We need to get things like this back in the budget. We need this to remain for our cities, our counties and throughout the entire nation.”  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Sun, February 25, 3:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

“Showcase for Exceptional Young Artists” Features ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_2ff71a88602c34c5bdd9_157bf5c4-d2e4-4c85-9231-84be219a13ed

Sun, February 25, 4:00 PM

North Plainfield

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the ...

Government

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, February 26, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

Plainfield's Mayor Mapp: The Youth are Setting Examples for All of Us

February 23, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - I am so inspired and moved by the courage and leadership being shown by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who lost their friends and classmates in one of our nation's most horrific school shootings just over one week ago. These students have taken an unspeakable tragedy and turned it into a powerful and positive force for change. Their efforts are inspiring a ...

Statement by Mayor Colleen Mahr

February 23, 2018

First, congratulations to Chairman Nick Scutari. I look forward to working alongside him as 1st Vice Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee. 

For the last three weeks, this campaign for UCDC Chair displayed the power we have and the voice we share. You are the leaders, citizens and activists who are helping shape our future. What you do in your hometowns and participating in the ...

Senator Cory Booker To Connect With Activists in Live Stream Q&A Hosted by Action Together New Jersey

February 24, 2018

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ, – Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) will discuss legislation before Congress, update activists on key issues, and take viewers’ questions in a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m., hosted by Action Together New Jersey (ATNJ).

The event is the first in a planned series designed to connect activists with politicians and officials, giving them an ...

Plainfield ofrece vacunas gratuitas para personas sin seguro o con seguro insuficiente

February 21, 2018

PLAINFIELD, NJ - La Ciudad de Plainfield ofrece vacunas gratuitas para quienes no tienen seguro o están asegurados.

El programa está patrocinado por el Departamento de Salud de Nueva Jersey y el Programa de Vacunas para Niños (VFC). Las vacunas están disponibles los martes de 1 a 5 p.m. y los jueves de 9 a.m. a 1 p.m. en el Edificio Anexo del Ayuntamiento, 510 ...

¡HOPES CAP, Inc. Ofrece Preparacion de Impuestos GRATIS en su Communidad!

PLAINFIELD, NJ - ¡HOPES CAP, Inc. Ofrece Preparacion de Impuestos GRATIS en su Communidad!

Los servicios estarán disponible en los siguientes lugares:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habrá disponible ayuda con la aplicación para números de ITIN y también habrá Auto
Preparación de ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Rapps Pharmacy: What You Need To Know About The Flu

There seems to be no end in sight for the current flu season which has touched every part of the country, and right here in New Jersey.  Rapps Pharmacy, an independent, full service, and locally owned Plainfield neighborhood pharmacy, offers these tips:  

As influenza virus activity increases and is likely to continue circulating for upcoming weeks, the Centers for Disease Control ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb

Prayers the Devil Answers by Sharyn McCrumb (Altria, 2015)

 

Years later, after the tragedy, someone remembered the Dumb Supper and what had happened there. That was the cause of it, they said, because the ritual wasn't a game after all. It really was magic, but magic has rules, and she broke them. Even when they call it a 'senseless tragedy,' people always try to find a ...

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...

Drama by Raina Telgemeir

Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic, 2012) (target audience, Young Adults)

 

When my daughter, Shauna, was six years old, we took her to see her first Broadway production; a revival of The Wiz starring Stephanie Mills. I knew that it was the last time Mills could get away with playing Dorothy, and I impressed upon Shauna that seeing this show was a special moment in her life. As a ...

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, 2017)

Yesterday my cousin, the daughter of my mother's sister, called me from California where she lives, and hit me up for money. This is not the first time she has asked me for money, and not the last, I am sure. She grew up the daughter of a privileged family and cruised to Europe frequently when she was a child. Her wardrobe came from ...

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb

The Unquiet Grave by Sharyn McCrumb (Atria Books, 2017)

 

Sharyn McCrumb is, quite simply, an American gem, and one of my favorite authors. From her books set in Appalachia with strange characters who remind us of our pioneer past, to St. Dale, a masterpiece about the legendary car racer, Dale Earnhardt in McCrumb's NASCAR series, McCrumb's poetic language and attention to ...