Feb. 16, 2006 – Applicants have until March 3 to apply for federal Community Development Block Grants distributed by the Planning and Natural Resources Department.
Program director Laurence Joshua said the department has $1.93 million to distribute in the federally funded program. He said that was down $4,078 from the year before.
"It's never good when you get less," he said.
He said he didn't know why the funding was decreasing, but said it had been cut by about $4,000 or $5,000 each year for the past several years.
Joshua said the money will be available in fiscal year 2007.
He said after public hearings, which are tentatively scheduled for April 18 on St. John, April 19 on St. Thomas and April 20 on St. Croix, DPNR will send its recommendations to Gov. Charles W. Turnbull. Gov. Turnbull will then forward them to the Legislature.
Joshua said historically, Turnbull doesn't make any changes to DPNR's recommendations. He said, however, the Legislature usually makes a few changes in which organizations get the money and how much each receives.
He said that DPNR makes its recommendations based on criteria set down in a five-year-plan developed last year.
"The funding is intended for public facilities and services primarily for low- and moderate-income persons," Joshua said.
He said after-school programs are always a priority, but application requests usually total about $2 million, more than the block grant's total amount. Joshua said that most organizations that apply only get a percentage of their request.
Joshua said facilities for the homeless are another priority.
Applications are available at the DPNR offices on St. Thomas and St. Croix. The St. Thomas office is on the second floor of Cyril E. King Airport. The St. Croix office is at No. 45 Mars Hill in Frederiksted. On St. John, applications are available at the Battery. Applications can be picked up from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information, call 774-3320 on St. Thomas and 773-1082 on St. Croix.
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