Norwalk’s SoNoCC looking at major step

South Norwalk Community Center board Chairman Warren Peña

NORWALK, Conn. – If Norwalk Economic Opportunity Now (NEON) folds next month, as it is rumored to be doing, the South Norwalk Community Center may try to take on the failing non-profit’s responsibilities.

Leaders of the center, who are expecting a cash influx this summer, are planning to resume investigating becoming a Community Action Program (CAP) agency, Deputy Director Pat Ferrandino said. This would mean SoNoCC would pick up the pieces when NEON is decertified, which state Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) recently said is inevitable.

There can only be one CAP agency in an area, Duff said. It would be best if all of the services offered by a new CAP agency would be in one building, a one-stop shopping approach, and that would likely be where they are currently offered by NEON at 98 South Main St., he said.

Ferrandino said board members took that remark to heart and plan to discuss becoming a CAP agency.

SoNoCC board Chairman Warren Peña confirmed that.

“In light of their demise I think that is something we should be open-minded about,” he said. “I don’t know if that is truly our vision and where we would like to go however I think that we should at this point keep all options open.”

The center lost a major piece of its funding last year when NEON eliminated it as the sub-agent for the $80,000 Hispanic Human Development grant awarded by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). The grant was subsequently cancelled by DSS when NEON failed to deliver the services called for in the grant contract.

Ferrandino said the HHD grant may be coming back to the center.

“We have reason to believe that that funding may be restored through another fiduciary from which we would end up being the subcontractor and receive the funding,” he said. “That is supposed to take place in July. We were hoping it would be in the amount of $80,000-plus dollars.”


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