U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker and Rep. Albio Sires have announced a combined total of $9,327,962 in federal funding from the first wave of the billions New Jersey is slotted to receive from the $2 trillion emergency stimulus package approved by Congress last week.
The funding, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development, will be used to combat COVID-19
As of April 1, there were nearly 1,910 positive COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities in Hudson County, with cases expected to rise over the coming weeks.
“As the former mayor of Union City, I understand the challenges on the ground when facing such an extraordinary crisis and that the federal government has a responsibility to help local governments in their time of need,” said Sen. Menendez.
“That’s why, when we negotiated the largest ever emergency response package in our nation’s history, we demanded that it quickly deliver federal dollars to our communities on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19,” he said. “Today, we are delivering on that promise and the first installment of what will be billions of dollars flowing from Washington to help our state, our hospitals, our residents and small businesses weather the storm.”
Menendez said leaders across Hudson County can immediately put these dollars to work in the fight against COVID-19, by keeping health departments fully staffed, retrofitting facilities for testing, or providing grants to struggling businesses and non-profits.
Across Hudson County, over $6.6 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) have been awarded to help communities fund infrastructure, economic development projects, public facilities installation, community centers, housing rehabilitation, public services, clearance/acquisition, microenterprise assistance, code enforcement, and homeowner assistance.
Another $2.28 million has been awarded to Hudson County municipalities in Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) to help fund rental assistance, eviction prevention, and anti-homelessness programs.
Of those funds Hudson County will receive $1,271,486 in CDBG funding and $602,817 in ESG funding.
Of the municipalities, Jersey City is slotted to get the most funding with $3,438,019 in CDBG, $1,682,731 in ESG, and $347,820 Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS grants to assist low-income New Jerseyans living with HIV/AIDS.
Bayonne will receive $925,177 in CDBG followed by Hoboken with $641,319.
Union City will receive $622,932 in CDBG funding followed by North Bergen with the least amount of CDBG funding at $418,593.
“This funding represents only the first installment of federal resources coming to New Jersey to help our communities in Hudson County continue to provide essential services while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rep. Sires. “I’m pleased that Congress could come together on legislation that puts small businesses, people who have lost their jobs, families, and health care workers first, but most importantly, that we deliver these federal funds swiftly to the people who need it most.”
Sen. Booker said the public health crisis requires a coordinated response from all levels of government.
“When fighting to ensure New Jersey receives the necessary federal resources, our priorities are protecting the brave medical workers fighting on the front lines of this pandemic, and standing up to help workers, families, small businesses, and the most vulnerable among us,” said Sen. Booker. “Today marks the next step down a long road of delivering federal funding to respond to this crisis, stimulate economic recovery, and strengthen our communities.”
Much needed funds
According to Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, the funding will help many who are critically affected by the economic fallout of the pandemic, whether for rent assistance, help for small businesses, or other initiatives to support families. He said it will make a huge difference.
State Senator and Union City Mayor Brian Stack said that the funding will help Union City respond to the outbreak, saying it’s “critically important to ensuring our community’s most vulnerable individuals and families aren’t left behind during this crisis.”
“This Community Development Block Grant will be instrumental for North Bergen’s COVID-19 response,” said State Senator and North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, adding, “It is encouraging to see local and federal government working together to defeat this devastating pandemic.”
Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis said Bayonne has relied on the Community Development Block Grant to meet important human needs since the 1970s.
“During this difficult time, more people will be turning to the community for help,” said Mayor Davis. “We welcome the additional funding which can be used for important social services.”
Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla said Hoboken was “thrilled” to have the additional funding to bolster the city’s coronavirus response.
“CDBG funding provides Hoboken’s non-profits with critical resources to serve low and moderate-income populations and improve the quality of life for thousands of residents,” said Mayor Bhalla. “We are very grateful to the advocacy of Senator Menendez, Senator Booker and Congressman Sires for continuing to fight for Hoboken.”
The stimulus package
The emergency stimulus package includes billions in federal resources to help residents confront the growing health and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the senators, most residents will benefit from direct payments up to $1,200 for individuals earning less than $75,000 and $2,400 for couples earning less than $150,000, plus $500 per child.
Local small businesses can also apply for forgivable loans of up to $10 million to make payroll and cover mortgage interest, rent, and utilities and hospitals and health centers will benefit from millions coming to the state to fund personal protective equipment, laboratory testing and more.
Another $1.8 billion is slated for NJ Transit to support the continuation of local bus, rail, and light rail services and local schools will share nearly $380 million to support K-12 education, help students and educators transition to online and remote learning, and provide emergency relief to districts and colleges hardest hit by COVID-19.