$1.8 million block grant award to finance array of local projects

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ST. THOMAS - The 2012 Community Development Block Grant award will give local programs and projects $1.8 million to serve low-income Virgin Islanders and help reduce blight in the community.

The annual grant award was ratified byy the Senate on Tuesday.

The block grant program, which is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will distribute $1,889,657 this year to local programs and nonprofit agencies. Locally, the program is administered by the V.I. Housing Finance Authority. The amount is $17,306 more than last year's grant.

The territory is allowed to use up to 20 percent of the grant for the administration of the program. This year, $377,931.40 has been set aside for that purpose.

Forty-six proposals totalling $6.3 million were submitted to the V.I. Housing Finance Authority, according to the legislation.

To qualify for the grants, projects must fall into one of two HUD categories: public service; or construction, rehabilitation or acquisition of infrastructure.

The projects and programs also must meet at least one national objective, including prevention or elimination of slums and blight; addressing an urgent need; or primarily benefitting people of low or moderate income.

In addition to the legislation authorizing the 2012 block grant, senators passed a second measure to reprogram $55,035 from previous block grant awards that were not spent.

The money will be taken from three St. Croix projects: $10,000 from the Housing, Parks and Recreation after-school program; $30,035 from the Our Town Frederiksted Street Sign Program; and $15,000 from St. Paul's Youth Steel Orchestra.

The money will be given to three St. Croix organizations: $45,035 for the Women's Coalition Crisis Center, which burned down in 2011; $5,000 for Choice Basketball; and $5,000 for the Frederiksted Boys and Girls Club.

The projects included in the 2012 Community Development Block Grant are:

St. Croix

- $35,000 to Holy Ghost Deliverance Ministries for an after-school program and violin lessons for about 65 students.

- $30,862.80 to the Mon Bijou Homeowners Association for an after-school and summer program, as well as a martial arts program to serve between 50 and 100 youths.

- $15,000 to Women with Focus to operate an after-school program to promote healthy living to about 40 youths.

- $20,000 to Choices Basketball Association to operate an academic mentorship and basketball training program for about 25-75 boys, ages 13-18.

- $20,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of the Virgin Islands to operate the Frederiksted after-school program.

- $75,000 to the Women's Coalition of St. Croix to reconstruct the East Street Crisis Center.

- $150,000 to Virgin Islands Partners in Recovery to complete renovations to a transitional housing facility for the homeless.

- $200,000 to Catholic Charities to construct 10 transitional housing units as well as a soup kitchen and outreach center in Christiansted.

- $210,000 to the Mon Bijou Homeowners Association to construct a new community center.

St. Thomas

- $30,000 for the V.I. Resource Center for the Disabled for the disabled training after-school program, which serves about 45 young people with physical and developmental disabilities.

- $30,000 to the Family Resource Center to operate a counseling program for youth victims of domestic violence and abuse.

- $29,500 for St. Andrew's Seek & Serve after-school program, which serves 55 youths.

- $29,762.80 to the Wesley Methodist Church for its after-school program, which serves about 55 youths.

- $300,000 to Catholic Charities to buy a building on Kronprindsens Gade for a soup kitchen and outreach center for homeless services.

- $102,000 to the Family Resource Center to rehabilitate the organization's main office building.

- $150,000 to the Family Resource Center to acquire the property adjacent to the existing main office building on Commandant Gade. The new building will be used for transitional housing for victims of domestic violence.

- $84,600 to the Economic Development Authority Enterprise Zone Commission to rehabilitate a historic home in Savan.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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