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Bayonne announces funding to combat domestic violence

Mayor Davis credits his Domestic Violence and Mental Health Task Force; others point to a measure by former Council President Ashe-Nadrowski

Groups including WomenRising, Black in Bayonne, and Sarah's Daughters Domestic Violence Awareness rallied for the passage of policy to help combat domestic violence alongside Bayonne city officials in March. From left to right: former City Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, Rashad Callaway of Black in Bayonne; and Shaniqua Borders of Black in Bayonne; and Margaret Abrams of WomenRising. Photo by Daniel Israel.

Bayonne has announced that $25,000 in grant funding is available for non-profit organizations to assist with combating domestic violence, according to Mayor James Davis.

The funding comes from the federal American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden’s economic package, which includes funding to strengthen public health and the social care sector. It can be utilized to support social and educational programs hosted by non-profit organizations.

The goal of Bayonne’s Domestic Violence Grant is to help combat domestic violence within the city by conducting outreach, providing educational programs, and interventions.

“This grant program presents local non-profit organizations with an important opportunity to work with the City of Bayonne to deal with this serious social problem,” Davis said. “We look forward to seeing proposals from our local non-profit community that will help prevent the devastating consequences of domestic violence.”

According to the city, the local grant program is a result of the work done by Davis’ Task Force on domestic violence to obtain funds to deal with this issue in Bayonne. However, some residents are disputing who is actually responsible for the program.

Details of the grant application

According to the grant application, award amounts will vary based on the number of applicants on a per capita basis. The application states the grant will be issued following review of this application and the required attachments.

Grant applicants must be registered as non-profit organizations with the State of New Jersey. Applicants’ work must be “dedicated to assisting people and their families to achieve self- sufficiency and live safe and productive lives,” according to the application.

Any group applying must certify that it will “conduct outreach, educational programs, and interventions including but not limited to women, people of color, and members of LGBTQAI+ community within the City to confront the issue of domestic violence.” The application states that qualified applicants must be 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations that provide services to the residents of Bayonne.

Non-profit organizations must submit the following documents with their applications: completed and signed Form W-9 request for taxpayer identification number and certification; 2021 Form 990 tax return or extension; a list of current board members; a copy of board-approved budget; and recent financial statements, including statement of financial position (balance sheet) and statement of activities (profit and loss statement).

A copy of the grant application packet has been posted on the city’s website at bayonnenj.org. Completed applications and all required documents must be submitted by Monday, October 17, to the Bayonne Law Department, Attn.: Christina LaGatta, 630 Avenue C, Bayonne, NJ 07002.

Giving credit where credit is due?

At the September 21 meeting of the City Council, former city employee and outspoken resident Gail Godesky disputed Davis taking credit for the program this during the public comment portion. She said the program was initiated by former City Council President and then-mayoral candidate Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski, who introduced a resolution which passed in March of this year to create the program.

“About the article regarding the $25,000 grant relating to combating domestic abuse in the city, for those that don’t recall, it was our former Council President Ms. Nadrowski who introduced that resolution in March at the council meeting,” Godesky said. “So let’s give credit where credit is due.”

Godesky also questioned why it took so long to set up the application process: “Why did it take seven months to come to reality? Director [of Public Safety Robert] Kubert noted several meetings ago that domestic violence is a major part of the crime we are seeing here in Bayonne. This should have been done immediately. I do not understand why it took seven months to begin the process.”

Officials did not respond to Godesky.

The new City Council which took over after the May municipal election has made it clear that the public comment portion, now limited to five minutes, is not a question and answer time. After the meeting, the Bayonne Community News discussed the program with Ashe-Nadrowski, who was in attendance and spoke on some agenda items.

“It was already funded and the money has been allocated and is in the budget,” Ashe-Nadrowski said. “They finally got the application and are putting it up for people to apply for that funding… That’s why I think Gail asked why it took seven or eight months from when we passed the funding for the Law Department to get the application for people to apply to it.”

Flashback to an election issue

When asked about Davis taking credit for the program launched by her resolution, she said: “What I find interesting is I did mine on the Wednesday meeting, took an actual action and put money into it. The next Sunday, he had a meeting behind closed doors and formed a domestic violence committee, and then never did anything with it. I think that was political, because I did something meaningful and put money behind it. Then a few days later, he formed the committee.”

On Wednesday, March 9, in response to non-profit Black in Bayonne’s calls for action by the city in the wake of the murder of Mely Vanessa Tafoya Mendoza at the hands of her husband, Ashe-Nadrowski proposed her resolution dedicating $25,000 to combat domestic violence at the council caucus meeting. A candlelight vigil was planned to rally support for the measure prior to the regular March council meeting the following week.

On Saturday, March 12, Davis formed the Domestic Violence and Mental Health Task Force to combat domestic violence. Then on Wednesday, March 16, the candlelight vigil saw many residents push for passage of Ashe-Nadrowski’s resolution, which was subsequently unanimously passed by the council at the meeting that same day.

While the intention at the time was to get the application process off the ground as soon as possible, it has been over six months since the resolution was passed, and now it appears that Davis is conflating his efforts to tackle domestic violence with Ashe-Nadrowski’s.

However, Ashe-Nadrowski said she doesn’t mind if the current administration bites off her ideas. “It’s not the first time he’s tried that, but never really did any follow through,” Ashe-Nadrowski said.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.

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