By TRAVIS HANDY
RICHMOND—Gov. Bob McDonnell Thursday announced more than $6.8 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funding for 11 projects in Virginia, including one in Pulaski County.
“This program has long been providing funding for projects that continue to improve the quality of life for thousands of Virginians every year,” said Gov. McDonnell. “Through Community Development Block Grants, we are able to address needs across the Commonwealth including housing rehabilitation, water and sewer service, downtown revitalization and much more.”
Grants are awarded to 11 projects across the state, among which is $700,000 for the proposed Pulaski Adult Daycare and Fall Prevention Center to be located in the former Newbern Elementary School, which will be remodeled using the funds. The total estimated price for the project is $705,753.
The daycare and fall prevention center would be a boon to caregivers in the region who have no local alternatives for daytime care for aging family members who may have dementia or other circumstances that leave them in need of supervision and assistance while the caregivers are working or otherwise unable to be present.
Jennifer Wilsie with New River Valley Planning District Commission said earlier this spring if the grant was received, the county school board would turn Newbern school over to the county, which will then lease it to Pulaski Adult Daycare, a nonprofit agency.
“Pulaski County is pleased and honored to have received this grant funding,” said Assistant County Administrator Robert Hiss. “Several years ago, a group of dedicated citizens identified a gap in services for our aging population and formed a non-profit to address this issue. They approached the county in hopes of applying for a grant to renovate a building to accommodate an adult day care and fall prevention program. This has been a true public-private partnership between a non-profit and a local government to create a much-needed service for our citizens.”
Hiss said the program will also benefit homebound caregivers by giving them an opportunity to re-enter the workforce when placing family members in a professional program.
“Those citizens who have dedicated their time to make this program a reality should be commended for all their hard work and passion,” said Hiss.
Pulaski County Board of Supervisors’ Massie District representative Andy McCready expressed pleasure at hearing the announcement.
“I think it’s great news for our county,” said McCready. As our population in the county continues to age and we have the folks that are still working, trying to take care of their elderly parents at the same time they have kids to raise, this represents an important assistance to those working folks that need this type of care.”
McCready said that while one of the things discussed earlier this spring concerning the center was the grant funding, the board also has to work out the complete agreement with the non-profit organization that will operate the center.
While the facility’s clients would primarily be people who live and work in Pulaski County, Wilsie said clients from outside the county would not be turned away. The agency is seeking licensure from Virginia Department of Social Services for 30 participants, but she said there could be more than 30 people since one participant may come only two days per week and another one only three days per week.
“It is a competitive application process for these grants,” said Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Director Bill Shelton. “We utilize the funding we have to provide the maximum resources to our citizens and communities across Virginia.”
Since 1982, DHCD has administered the federally funded CDBG program, and Virginia receives more than $16 million annually for this “small cities” grant program. CDBG grants are awarded through a competitive process. Most projects benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and many projects are targeted for the prevention or elimination of slums and blighting conditions.
Three projects are noted as multi-year funding projects. Multi-year projects are those that will receive a contract allocating a portion of the funds this year and, after achieving specific performance targets, will then be eligible for additional funding. Those three projects are in the town of South Hill, Henry County and the town of Marion. The largest grant, $969,706 went to the town of Alberta for the Alberta/Lawrenceville Regional Utility Consolidation Project.