July 5, 2007

CONTACT: Mary Lynn Williams


County Receives
John A. Sasso Award

Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski announced today that the County of Union has received the John A. Sasso Award in recognition for exemplary utilization of Community Development Block Grant Funds in low and moderate income and urban communities.

“We have effectively used CDBG funds to address affordable housing issues and positively impact our low income and urban communities.” said Freeholder Chairwoman Bette Jane Kowalski. ”The County of Union is a strong advocate for the CDBG program. We have seen how CDBG funds can change communities for the better.”

To be eligible for the award, applicants must provide evidence; usually based on past programs, that the commitment exists to positively improve the lives of its lower income residents. Union County programs such as The Center for Hope Hospice, the Cerebral Palsy League, the ARC, the YMCA’s of both Plainfield and Eastern Union, the Rahway Woman’s project and programs such as the Senior Home Improvement program have all been supported by the counties distribution of CDBG funds.

For 32 years the CDBG program has served as a vital resource to help cities, counties and states meet their unique community and economic development and affordable housing needs. Over the last several years, CDBG formula grants have been significantly reduced. Despite the reduction in funds, this year Union County saw a 1% increase in CDBG funds as a result of the many successful programs implemented.

The John A. Sasso award, named for the father and founder of the National Community Development Association (NCDA), was one of the five national awards given at their annual meeting in San Francisco on June 21. NCDA administers federally-supported community and economic development, housing and human service programs. These programs include those of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and the HOME Investment Partnership programs. Since 1968, NCDA has been a leader in securing housing and community development programs for local governments. Founded in 1974, NCDA is a national nonprofit organization made up of over 550 municipal and county governments across the country. The mission of the organization is to assist local governments to achieve high-quality, locally responsive programs for making communities better places to live and work, particularly for low- and moderate-income people.