Small Cities grants totaling $6.5 million have been awarded by the state Department of Community Affairs to 20 municipalities in eight counties.
The money will fund projects such as improving handicapped access to public facilities, installing ADA-compliant ramps at intersections and rehabilitating homes for low- and moderate-income families.
"Small Cities grants encourage local governments to proactively address issues that benefit some of our most vulnerable citizens," DCA Commissioner Richard E. Constable III said in a release. "They can also be leveraged with other funding sources to result in an even greater impact on towns and counties."
The money for the Small Cities Program is provided by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant program. The DCA's Division of Housing and Community Resources administers the grants, which are used for housing rehabilitation, development of public facilities, and improvements to public infrastructure. The awards are designated to benefit people of low- and moderate-income, aid in the prevention or elimination or slums or blight, or to address local needs for which no other source of funding is available.
The dollar amount of the grants ranged from $187,121 to $400,000.
"These grants, and the projects they fund, do make a noticeable difference in the communities that receive them by improving their housing situations, their economic opportunities and their overall quality of life, which is a primary goal of DCA," said Constable.
Under unique circumstances, local governments can use funds to meet urgent community development needs for which no other resources are available. A need is considered urgent if it poses a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community, and has arisen in the past 18 months.