Thursday, April 28, 2011

Freeholders to hold public hearing for federal housing funds

A PUBLIC HEARING on the allocation of $2,353,707 in 2011 federal housing and development funds is set for May 4 before the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

The Freeholders will invite public testimony on both a $1,114,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a $1,239,707 Federal HOME award.

"Unfortunately, funding for both of these programs have been significantly cut by the federal government," said Freeholder Deputy Director Gerry P. Little.

Little noted that CDBG funds were trimmed by 16 percent compared to last year and HOME funding was down 12 percent.

"Despite these cuts we will allocate the remaining funds to programs that improve the quality of life for the residents of Ocean County," said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

HOME funds will be allocated to four programs in 2011, Vicari said.

First-Time Homebuyers program, housing rehabilitation efforts, affordable rental units built community development housing organizations, and tenant-based rental assistance programs will share in the funds.

Little said all of the programs have been successful in helping low-income residents find a home.

To date, the First-Time Home Buyers Program has helped 394 families purchase their first home.

"This year another 22 families will purchase a new home thanks to this important program," Little said.

Another six homes will undergo extensive repairs through the Housing Rehabilitation funds. To date, 214 homes have been repaired through this initiative.

Affordable Rental Units have provided homes to 109 residents.

An additional 602 families have benefited from the Tenant-Based Rental Assistance Program, which provides an $803 per month rental subsidy for up to 24 months.

Thirty additional families will receive funding from the program in 2011.

Vicari said CDBG funds totaling $568,739 will fund sidewalk and handicapped access improvements in 14 towns, including Bay Head, Eagleswood, Lakehurst, Lavallette, Little Egg Harbor, Long Beach, Manchester, Mantoloking, Ocean Gate, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, Ship Bottom, and South Toms River.

Grant money will also be allocated to housing rehabilitation and public services.

Eleven non-profit agencies, including food banks, services for the homeless and programs for domestic violence and abused and neglected children will receive funding, Vicari said.

The Public Hearing on the grants is scheduled for Wednesday, May 4 at 4 p.m. in Room 119 of the Ocean County Administration Building, 101 Hooper Avenue.

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