Block grants to help Greenfield agencies

GREENFIELD — The town once again plans to award grants to several local social service agencies.

The town has put out a request for proposals to social service agencies located in Greenfield and the mayor has added that he would like to see addiction recovery and emergency food programs, as well as a housing assistance and child advocacy group receive the money.

Mayor William Martin said he feels those are the areas that need the most help this year.

He said food programs have been inundated because of all of the homeless families who spent the past several months in Greenfield hotels.

Martin also said addiction recovery has become a huge issue for the area. Most recently, the Center for Human Development learned that it won a three-year grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to operate a 25-bed substance abuse rehabilitation center for women in the former Pioneer Valley Rest Home on Montague City Road.

Greenfield Housing Authority, which works closely with the town, has hired a housing assistant, which it will pay for with the help of the town, and the mayor said he is always concerned about at-risk children.

The town will award some of the Community Development Block Grant money it received from the state this year.

Alice Connelley, the town’s grants administrator, said the town received $900,000 in Fiscal 2014. She said the town has typically received between $800,000 and $1 million in block grants over the past five or six years.

She said the town has historically used the block grants to help some of its social service agencies, but also to improve or renovate some of its parks, repair its sidewalks, help its residents make energy-efficiency improvements and help its businesses repair and update their facades.

She said about $150,000, which is what the state allows, will go to social service agencies this year. The state allows up to five social service agencies to receive some of the block grant money from the town.

The rest of the money, $750,000, will pay for town projects, including housing rehabilitation for residents who need to upgrade their homes with energy efficiencies and water and sewer replacements and repairs in the Washington Street area.

Any agency wishing to apply will have to show the town that it will meet the community’s needs with the money and will benefit low- to moderate-income residents of Greenfield.

Agencies have until Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. to get their proposals in to the town.

For more information, contact Connelley at 413-772-1548 or email her at: Connelley said email is the best way to contact her.

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