Two Health and Human Services Grants Awarded to Township
A homelessness prevention grant and a senior citizen food delivery grant will improve some residents' quality of life
Two grants recently awarded to Bloomfield’s Health and Human Services will help senior citizens and people who are struggling against homelessness, poverty and unforeseen emergencies.
Paula Peikes, LCSW of the Health and Human Services Department, said the funds from the two grants will answer a great need within the community.
“The homelessness prevention grant is for $80,000. It will enable us to help provide Bloomfield residents with assistance for monthly rent, utilities and mortgage payments,” Peikes said. “It covers people who are at risk of homelessness, eviction, foreclosure or having their utilities shut off.”
Peikes stressed that both low and middle-income residents would qualify for assistance but “they must be in imminent danger of homelessness or in the midst of an unforeseen emergency.”
“The money will go quickly,” she cautioned. “In order to receive the fund you must qualify for it and prove sustainability. Meaning that you must be able to pay going forward."
The second grant was an award of $10,000 by the Grotto Fund. It will enable the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Network, a volunteer arm of Bloomfield's Division of Human Services, to continue their food delivery program for senior citizens. Partnering with the Human Needs Food Pantry in Montclair, the program provides food for about 100 home-bound seniors, with 90 volunteers visiting the recipients weekly.
“We're very excited,” said Peikes. “This is a wonderful opportunity to partner with another organization in Essex County that supports low-income and isolated senior citizens aging in place.”
She explained that the term, “aging in place” refers to senior citizens who have chosen to stay in their homes or assisted living facilities.
“These programs that help people to stay in their homes or assisted living situations are so important,” Peikes said. “We want to give back to these people. We care about them and value them as members of the community who made a contribution.”
The Neighbor-to-Neighbor Network collaborates with community groups, faith-based organizations, local businesses, colleges and individual citizens to provide volunteer services to Bloomfield residents and animals.
Regarding the homelessness prevention grant, Peikes said, “This is the first time Bloomfield has ever gotten this money. Before, Bloomfield residents had to go to East Orange or Newark. Now they can go straight to Town Hall. I am so happy to help these hard-working people who deserve this type of assistance.”
She added, “The money is available through December 31st but it won't be here that long. So many people are facing [difficult situations like] this. We can meet with them and help design a case management plan. It's confidential and everyone is treated with dignity.”