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Hoboken Community Center gets $1 million

Grant will go toward replacing HVAC system for affordable housing program

The Hoboken Community Center at 13th and Washington streets houses 96 low-income men.

The Hoboken Community Center (HCC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, will use a $1 million grant to replace the building’s heating and cooling system.

The HCC, at 1301 Washington St., has a three-pronged mission that includes an affordable housing program that serves 96 low-income men, the rehabilitation of the former YMCA as a community and recreation center, and the Hoboken Food Pantry (HFP).

According to the organization, the building’s HVAC system requires  vital repair work to ensure the long-term operation of the affordable housing program.

“Since 1927, the Hoboken Community Center has provided affordable housing at our current location on Washington Street,” said Board Member and Secretary of the Hoboken Community Center Toni Tomarazzo. “The housing program, which supports many residents with very limited incomes and limited housing options, currently receives no project-based housing vouchers and is funded through rental income, social service agency support, and private donations. Financial challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic created significant financial difficulties with a decline in rental income and an increase in expenses. Limited options to finance repairs of the critical HVAC system were available.”

The $1 million grant, awarded by the state as part of its 2022 state budget, will help, but, according to the HCC, the work will require “substantially” more money.

“The Hoboken Community Center has been a critical lifeline to so many members of our community, especially over the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla. “This $1 million to support their efforts will go a long way to ensuring those who need a helping hand have the Hoboken Community Center to turn to as we continue our recovery. We are glad to strongly support the HCC’s efforts, and I thank Assemblywoman Chaparro and Toni Tamarazzo for spearheading this effort to secure extra funding from the State, along with Governor Murphy and Senator Stack.”

Housing program is much needed

Housing for single, low-income men in Hudson County is extremely limited. The HCC’s affordable housing program is the last single- resident occupancy housing in northern Hudson County and serves as both a long-term housing option for many men as well as a transitional housing option for those who need assistance getting back on their feet.

“When residents needed help the most, the Hoboken Community Center and its food pantry worked to ensure our community’s seniors and others could safely get groceries amid shelter-in-place orders, and it continued to be a truly amazing resource throughout the pandemic,” said Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro. “Especially after seeing their work up close and personal last year, it was my pleasure to advocate for additional funding as part of the state budget. With this $1 million from the state, I’m happy to see this terrific organization continue to grow and serve Hoboken and make a positive impact on our community.”

“In tough times, this organization has thrived and served as a lifeline for so many of our residents,” said State Senator Brian Stack. “I encourage all those who care about a better Hoboken and ensuring that people who need help do receive it to learn about the Community Center and their mission.”

According to the most recent U.S. Census, approximately one in nine Hoboken residents live below the poverty level.

The Hoboken Food Pantry has seen a sharp rise in the number of individuals and families struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic.

It continues to serve grab-and-go bags of groceries on the first and third Friday of each month at three Hoboken locations: the HFP at 1301 Washington St., the Multi-Service Center at 124 Grand St., and the Hoboken Housing Authority at 311 Harrison St.

It also offers nonfood items, such as diapers, toiletries, and cleaning products twice a month at the HFP during Family 2 Family hours.

To learn more about the HFP, including how to donate or shop the Amazon Wish List, visit hobokencc.org.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.

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