South Brunswick Low Income Seniors and Disabled Community Receive Grant Funds

About $67,000 in federal grant funds was provided to South Brunswick to aid adults with developmental disabilities and senior citizens.

The South Brunswick Township Council approved a list of grant allocations aimed at aiding low-income senior citizens and adults with disabilities at Tuesday's council meeting. The grant is distributed by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, through Middlesex County, to 19 county municipalities.

The program, aimed eliminating code violations, health and safety problems, is open to South Brunswick agencies and non-profit groups that serve the low-income elderly and disabled communities. 

The South Brunswick Citizens Advisory Committee received about $127,000 in grant applications for $67,542 received through the block grant. Committee members Arlyne DeSena, a retired South Brunswick Affordable Housing Administrator, and Ellen Gambatese, wife of Mayor Frank Gambatese, presented the recommendations at last week's council meeting.

"It's not an easy job to go through $127,000 in requests because some have to be cut out," Mayor Gambatese said during the meeting. "The committee did a great job providing for the greater need that they saw."

The committee allocated $10,500 for the township's Pioneer Recreation program , which provides a social and support network for adults with special needs who have aged out of programs and activities geared towards younger members of the special needs community. 

The Department of Social Services was allocated about $2,200 to provide an assistant for the township food pantry to help organize the flow of donated goods. 

The Citizens for Independent Living received a grant allocation of $21,500 to pay for a person who monitors and provides supervision for the CIL's residents. The CIL, which began in 1984, provides training and housing for the developmentally disabled. 

The South Brunswick Senior Center was allocated $20,000 for a social worker to assist the senior population in town.

A total of $7,900 was allocated to the Oak Woods and Charleston Place senior residences to provide stove top fire suppressors. Money was also allocated to the two senior residences for the congregate meal program, which not only provides meals, but also social opportunities for low-income seniors.

Ellen also paid tribute to former advisory committee member Vera A. Schwartz, who died on Jan. 22 at the age of 80.  Schwartz worked for the South Brunswick Parks and Recreation Department, where she helped develop a program to improve the artistic and movement skills of children with special needs.

"Vera sat here many times with me and she was an invaluable woman who was very concerned about the details and wanted everything to be just right," Ellen said. "She was an asset to the town with the recreation department, with the Photography Club and special needs community. She is missed."


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