Norwalk agencies make pitch for CDBG dollars

Volunteers learn about a program to offer rides to teenagers recently at the South Norwalk Community Center.

Correction: In the fourth paragraph — The funding is for PY40 activities.

NORWALK, Conn. – A boxing program, the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program, a transport van for the Housing Authority and an after-school program and building improvements at the South Norwalk Community Center (SoNoCC) are among applications under consideration for Community Development Block Grants, according to the city website.

The presentations will be made at a special meeting of the Common Council’s Planning Committee from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wedneday, Feb. 19, in room A300 at City Hall.

The requests for funding total about $1.52 million. According to the city website, the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency (NRA) is estimating that Norwalk will receive approximately $807,395 in CDBG Entitlement funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this year, and that approximately $362,524 of reprogrammed funds and $56,118 of non-revolving CDBG program income will be added to this sum.

The combined total makes approximately $1,226,037 in CDBG funding available for PY40 activities.

The amount, the website says, is only a projection and is subject to change and “is likely to be impacted by pending federal budget decisions.”

Two of the CDBG grants are sought by the NRA itself and total $507,745.

The larger of the two requests, for its City Neighborhoods Program, is for $326,000. The grants would be a fraction of the program’s overall cost — $17,858,027. According to the application, $640,000 will come from state and local grants. Another $200,000 is expected to come from corporations and foundations, and the rest from agency funds.

According to the project summary, “The City Neighborhoods Program, as advanced by the Common Council, has four main programmatic goals …: to maintain and expand the supply of safe, affordable housing; to assist businesses to grow in ways that create employment opportunities for lower income persons; to expand opportunities that promote neighborhood cohesion, stability, sustainability and connectedness; and to expand opportunities for low/moderate income persons to access and enjoy public activities and open space in a safe, accessible and well maintained public environment.

The NRA’s other request, for $244,745 – the total cost of the program – is for general administration of the CDBG program. According to the project summary, “The agency is requesting $244,745 in CDBG funding to cover costs associated with administration of the City’s CDBG program for the 2014-15 fiscal year. The intent of the CDBG program is to help communities improve the quality of life for low and moderate income persons by supporting projects that improve the quality and quantity of housing, enhance access to public services and facilities and increase the number of economic opportunities within such communities and reach 5-year ConPlan goals.”

SoNoCC wants to grow

The South Norwalk Community Center wants to become a bigger player for the city’s people in need. With NEON fighting battles both financial and structural, SoNoCC wants to continue to repair and enhance its building as well as expand its after-school offerings.

To that end, SoNoCC has applied for a pair of grants. The afterschool program request is for $50,000 toward a total program cost or $150,000. The application says “SoNoCC currently offers after-school music programs. This grant will increase the number of programs offered in the area of music, dance, the arts, and recreation to serve approximately 350 children, ages 3-18.

The second, and larger, grant is for continuation of a three-phase effort called the Renaissance Project. The Renaissance Project is a three-phase facilities improvement of 98 South Main St., the building shared with NEON. Phase I involves the demolition of 6,000 square feet of floor space for three new classrooms, computer lab, dual language early childhood center, reception and waiting areas, administrative offices, and handicap-accessible restrooms.

Phase II is the renovation of the multipurpose room and adjacent industrial kitchen. Phase III is the development of an outdoor recreational center.

The grant request is for $100,000, half the project’s cost. The grant would be in addition to what SoNoCC has already received for the project. According to the application, the agency is “aggressively implementing a Development and Capital Improvement campaign to raise the funds needed for facility improvements.”

 In this corner…

Former World Boxing Association junior middleweight champ and current Common Councilman Travis Simms (D-District B) has been trying for some time to get boxing program started in South Norwalk under the banner of the Travis Simms Foundation. His hope, according to the application, is to identify at-risk youth to would benefit from a program that demands focus, commitment and discipline.

Simms is seeking a $65,000 grant for the project, which has a total cost of $82,000.

Other requests include (total project cost in parentheses):

• Norwalk Housing Authority, $35,705 ($113,600) for a transport van for NHA residents with disabilities to make NHA programs more accessible.

• SoNo Life Center, Open Door Shelter, $50,000 ($144,400) for pre-development costs. The center would treat and educate chronically addicted people to live sober lives and develop basic job skills. The plan includes job placement and financially assists with secure housing.

• SoNo Life Center, Open Door Shelter, $23,000 ($46,000) to replace flooring that is presenting safety and environmental hazards.

• Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON), $43, 694 ($43,694) for job and computer training and job placement services for 40 unemployed and underemployed people.

• City of Norwalk, $25,000 ($136,537) for a neighborhood improvement coordinator to run a program that includes 50 community cleanups, eliminates 10 dump sites, develops three adopt-a-spot gardens, engages residents in 4,000 volunteer hours, obtains at least $2,500 in corporate donations and cleans up 125 graffiti sites.

• City of Norwalk, $25,000 ($155,500) for Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program and Expanded Briggs Component. The grant would help pay for pre-employment workshops.

• Computer Science Entrepreneurship Program, $15,820 ($47,460) for a 12-week program for middle and high school girls.

• Courage to Speak Drug Prevention Education for After School Programs, $14,770 ($47,345) for three intervention programs in cooperation with NHA: drug prevention for grades 4-8 youth who attend NHA Learning Centers; a family night for Empowering Youth to be Drug Free; and Courageous Parenting 101 in English and Spanish to improve intra-family communications and be educated about the danger of drugs.

• Domestic Violence Prevention through Effective Community Policing (Domestic Violence Crisis Center), $30,000 ($134,269) for training for police by the center for proper response to domestic violence situations.

• Elder Abuse Prevention Initiative, $12,500 ($37,500) for community-wide training for all caretakers (as well as those sharing space with the elderly) designed to provide education and resources to help prevent domestic violence.

• Keystone House, bathroom remodel at Elmcrest Terrace Group Home, $11,000 ($22,000) to renovate a bathroom for individuals receiving mental health services at the home.

• Carver Center Facility Improvements, $92,500 ($185,000) to replace the HVAC and duct system and relocate second-floor registers.

• Mid-Fairfield AIDS Project, $52,286 ($104,572) to purchase and install energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system which includes solar panels, heat pump, tankless water heaters and insulation to make the two- family house energy efficient resulting in a 80 percent reduction in energy cost.

• Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield, $30,000 ($98,015) for an advanced practice psychiatric nurse.

• Person to Person, $16,000 ($51,366), for emergency financial assistance.

• Family & Children’s Agency, $16,000 ($368,950) for Project REWARD, which “empowers women and strengthens families by providing trauma-informed, gender-specific and accessible substance abuse services.”

• Housing Development Fund, $20,000 ($40,000) for affordable housing counseling.

• Star Inc.: Lighting the Way, $46,000 ($92,000) for safety and energy-enhancement work to the building’s infrastructure.

• Greater Norwalk Opening Doors, $28,000 ($58,000) Consolidated Care Team to continue a critical initiative that houses and provides services to 100 homeless people in an effort to integrate housing, case management and health care. The Coordinated Care Team is tasked with integrating fragmented care, facilitating communication amongst providers, and arranging community services.

• Human Services Council, $78,500 ($78,500) for homelessness prevention through social worker outreach.

• Liberation Programs, $6,000 ($80,000) for substance abuse education, prevention and wellness.

• Women’s Business Development Council, Microenterprise Assistance Programs, $40,000 ($80,000), for entrepreneurial training, financial coaching and professional development programs for Norwalk residents and businesses.



2 responses to “Norwalk agencies make pitch for CDBG dollars”

  1. Bill

    I wish people would learn to be more self sufficient. It is sad that we need so many government funded programs. If you want to box, fund it yourself. If you want to teach bilingual music, volunteer. Don’t make tax payers cover your hobbies, no matter how Nobel your intentions.

  2. newsfreak203

    Bill, it’s unfortunate that you don’t quite understand this process, the money does not come from tax payer’s… the funding is appropriated from the federal government to as a in-kind gift or grant to every State, then distributed to each city that has over 50,000 resident’s to help build urban communities and supplement non-profit organizations within those communities.
    Which Norwalk recieves about 2.1 million, 1.5 million which of those funds are taking out immediately to pay for the salaries of the employees of the Redevelopment Agency then, the rest is which is roughly $750,000 of that is divided between non-profit organization and most of that money does not come down to the urban area, in fact only about $200,000 comes into the urban district and most often controlled by the Republican Council members to award organizations or individual companies that support their campaigns or initiatives.

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