MONMOUTH COUNTY – Municipal programs in Long Branch, Red Bank, and Eatontown, as well as two county programs making energy utility bills affordable for low-income households, will be receiving more than $500,000 in combined funding through state-approved grants, announced Senator Vin Gopal and Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling (D-Neptune) and Joann Downey (D-Freehold) today.
In addition, the legislators announced that Jersey Shore University Medical Center will be one of several New Jersey hospitals receiving funds through a $20 million program launched under the federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) – the largest VOVA award in the nation’s history for hospital-based violence intervention programs. The grants aim to reduce gun violence and strengthen ties between public health facilities and the communities they serve.
“New Jersey has been a leader in using VOCA funds to fight back against gun violence, both by enhancing victims’ services and breaking the cycle of violence in hard-hit communities,” said Assemblywoman Downey. “We look forward to working with Jersey Shore University Medical Center and all nearby communities to make our neighborhoods safer and healthier while reducing the presence of gun violence.”
A major portion of additional grant funding ($475,000) will be dedicated to Long Branch’s Transit Village program, with a goal of helping the city plan dense, mixed-use redevelopment areas near public transportation. By doing so, the initiative hopes to revitalize areas around transit stations to create attractive, vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighbors where residents and visitors and live, shop, work, and play without the use of a car.
“In densely populated communities, promoting access to alternative means of transportation such as biking, walking, or mass transit is a great way to help improve residents’ health, expand access to affordable transportation, and shrink our carbon footprint,” said Senator Gopal. “Long Branch is one of several towns along the Jersey Shore who are leading the way in the development of cleaner, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and I’m glad to see the city’s efforts continue to improve the quality of life for its residents.”
Additional funding will be dedicated to the Monmouth County government, which will receive $8,405 for its administration of the Universal Fund and $12,608 for the administration of the county’s LIHEAP program, two programs that work to make energy utility bills more affordable for low-income households.
Red Bank Borough and Eatontown Borough will receive a combined $21,000 in funding under the Recreational Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities Program. In Red Bank, a $1,000 grant will subsidize two field trips for local children with disabilities; in Eatontown, a $20,000 grant will support inclusive, community-based leisure and arts programs for residents with disabilities.
“We’re glad to see this funding coming to Monmouth County to the benefit of some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Assemblyman Houghtaling. “It’s incredibly important to make sure that people can keep their lights and heating on – especially during the cold winter months – and to continue building a more inclusive community for those with disabilities.”
The legislators also announced that the New Jersey Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs will receive a $300,000 grant under the state’s At-Risk Youth Program, funding after-school programs for at-risk youth in low-income households.