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Posted: 02/20/13

Bruce distributes
$118,000 in CDBG funds

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Bruce Township is looking for a few suggestions on how to spend some federal grant dollars.
       Just over $81,000 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds were designated by the Board of Trustees for brick and mortar projects in Bruce Township.
       The board also approved of $36,580 to give to non-profits that serve local and county residents during its Feb. 13 meeting.
       The board accepted $118,000 in CDBG funds from Macomb County, which originally received the grant dollars from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The county changed its distribution methods this year, giving communities three year's worth of funds to distribute instead of one year.
       A total of $81,420 was allocated for brick and mortar projects. The funds must be used for items like property acquisition, demolition, public facilities, infrastructure or removal of barriers for disabled people.
       Supervisor Richard Cory said the township has a couple projects in mind, but asked that anyone with suggestions on how to use the grant dollars submit them to the township.
       "A lot of that (money) has to be for low-income," he said. "It's really tough trying to give this money away."
       The township already has $20,384 set aside from 2012 for paving the Romeo Senior Center lot, while $2,000 was designated for a handicap button for the Township Hall front door.
       Macomb County gives a suggested amount for the township to donate to each cause. It allows for 15 percent to be given in service donations, and will adjust the amounts to be in line with the 15 percent total if it is exceeded.
       Should this occur, the township would have more money for brick and mortar projects or could donate the funds to another community project.
       For the non-profit allocations, the largest contribution was given to the Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Recreation at $10,000. This was followed by the Samaritan House receiving $5,000.
       Ann Tomlanovich, Samaritan House development coordinator, said the non-profit heavily depends on CDBG funds to provide 550 individuals a month with food, shelter and utility assistance.
       She said about 240,000 meals are given each year with the Samaritan House's $500,000 annual budget, with $125,000 of that being cash outlay.
       "In the past, block grant funds have provided about 20 percent of our cash needs, or $30,000 a year," Tomlanovich said.
       She said according to Feeding America, 15.5 percent of Macomb County residents are considered to have a lack of access to adequate food, and among children the figure is reported at 20 percent.
       Another local program to receive CDBG funding was A Beautiful Me, a self-esteem workshop for women, which was granted $1,000.
       MCREST, an organization made up of multiple churches that provide shelter for needy residents, received $5,000.
       Tim Stockard spoke on behalf of the Hope Center in Macomb, which runs a food pantry similar in fashion to a grocery store in Fraser for Macomb County residents. It handed out around 2 million pounds of food last year.
       "When people come in they can `shop,'" Stockard said. "The larger their family or household, the more food they receive."
       The center requested $500, which the board agreed to provide.
       The remaining funds were distributed as follows: Macomb Literacy Partners, $3,080; Macomb County Warming Center, $3,000; Skyline Camp, $2,000; Turning Point, $4,000, and Macomb Homeless Coalition, $3,000.


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