Contact: Kelly Martins
Public Information Officer
ELIZABETH, NJ—April 24, 2017— Mayor J. Christian Bollwage joined by several State, County and City dignitaries and more than 60 guests came together to show their support and celebrate the 43rd year of the Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) at the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless on Division Street. 
“As the fourth largest municipality in New Jersey, Elizabeth depends on federal funding such as CDBG to supplement programs and services to assist our residents,” said Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “Recently, the President has proposed the elimination of this program, which will have a negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of our local community. Cutting subsidies to meet a budget without talking to constituents or organizations is just not the answer and I encourage all of you who are here today to reach out to Congress and show your support for this vital program.”
Through the implementation of this initiative by the Department of Planning & Community Development, CDBG has helped Elizabeth provide assistance to first-time homebuyers, make funding available for necessary infrastructure improvements, providing a safety presence in our neighborhoods and create recreational opportunities for residents.
President Trump’s proposed cut is part of a $6 billion, or 13 percent, reduction in the fiscal 2018 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The budget also includes $35 billion for HUD's rental assistance programs and proposes reforms to that program. 
“From my tenure as Mayor of Roselle to now being the current Assemblyman of the 20th Legislative District, I have watched CDBG create viable communities, provide affordable and suitable housing and create jobs and opportunities for people in Roselle, Union County and all around the country,” said Assemblyman Jamel Holley. “All of us here today are dedicated to the restoration and continuation of the Community Development Block Grant - let us send a strong message that the cuts to this program are unacceptable and that we need the Trump Administration to appropriately fund CDBG so that we can continue moving forward and helping our communities grow.”
The CDBG program enables support to be provided to various local agencies, who deliver a wide array of services including, but not limited to: senior citizen programs, affordable housing, economic development, emergency relocation, child care, health care, youth counseling, mentoring and recreation; all for the benefit of low and moderate income residents. 
“We are alarmed at the 2018 Budget released by the Trump Administration as it relates to CDBG and HOME programs for Union County,” said Freeholder Sergio Granados. “HOME funds have allowed Union County to help expand access to 848 units of housing, including 330 units of senior housing; 166 units through homebuyer assistance; 71 units of special needs housing; and 281 units of low-income housing. The potential loss of these two programs and the vast array of services and needs that depend on it would be catastrophic and hard for our municipalities and non-profits to sustain.”
Speakers at the Press Conference included: Eduardo Rodriguez, Director of Planning & Community Development for Elizabeth; Mayor J. Christian Bollwage; Assemblyman Jamel Holley of the 20th Legislative District; Assemblywoman Annette Quijano of the 20th Legislative District; Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan; Kaitlin Mc Guiness, Representative from Senator Cory Booker’s Office; Zachary Rynar, Representative from Senator Robert Menendez’s Office, Union County Freeholder Angel Estrada; Union County Vice Chairman Freeholder Sergio Granados; Carlos Torres,  Council President of the City of Elizabeth and Linda Flores-Tober Executive Director of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. 
CDBG funds are distributed to worthy agencies via a competitive application process, which is conducted by the Mayor’s CDBG Advisory Committee.  
For more information on the Community Development Block Program, please call Jessica Topolosky at 908-820-4030.