DCA Designates Two Non-Profits as Community Action Agencies for Middlesex County

NEW BRUNSWICK - Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Charles A. Richman today announced the Jewish Renaissance Foundation of Perth Amboy and the Puerto Rican Action Board, Inc. of New Brunswick as the new Community Action Agencies for Middlesex County. Both non-profit organizations will offer a comprehensive range of services designed to provide low-income individuals who live in the county with the resources necessary to achieve self-sufficiency.

"For more than four decades, Community Action Agencies across our great nation have provided aid and opportunity to all people in need who are eligible to receive it," Governor Corzine said. "They have helped lift thousands of families out of poverty."

Community Action Agencies must serve low-income populations by helping them become more self-sufficient; improve their living conditions; gain a stake in the local community; and strengthen family and other support networks, among other goals. Every county in New Jersey had at least one Community Action Agency with the exception of Middlesex, which had been without such an agency since July 2007. Earlier this year, the DCA put out a request for proposals for the designation and after significant review selected the Jewish Renaissance Foundation (JRF) and Puerto Rican Action Board (PRAB).

"These two organizations are now joining an esteemed group of agencies united behind the philosophy of eliminating the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty," said Acting Commissioner Richman. "I have no doubt they will rise to the challenge."

JRF is now the Community Action Agency for Middlesex County East, which includes the municipalities of Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy, Woodbridge and Highland Park. PRAB is the designated agency for Middlesex County West, serving people from Cranbury, Dunellen, East Brunswick, Helmetta, Jamesburg, Middlesex Borough, Milltown, Monroe, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Piscataway, South Brunswick, Plainsboro, South Plainfield, South River, and Spotswood.

Once an organization is designated as a Community Action Agency, it automatically receives federal Community Services Block Grants Program (CSBG) funding every year. The DCA Division of Housing and Community Resources administers CSBG in New Jersey. JRF will receive $1.42 million in CSBG funding in 2009 and is projected to get nearly $467,000 in 2010. Likewise, PRAB will get $1.45 million in CSBG funding in 2009 and is projected to receive almost $475,000 in 2010. They must use the money on programs that assist individuals/families at 200 percent or below the federal poverty level.

JRF was founded in 1996 and serves more than 34,000 children and families of all backgrounds. With an operating budget of over $13 million, it employs a staff of more than 300 professionals. JRF also serves as the parent agency of the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center and Boys & Girls Club in Perth Amboy.

PRAB began almost 40 years ago as a small provider of English classes for recently arrived Latinos. Through grants and merging with other providers, PRAB has become a comprehensive human services organization with more than 100 staff members. It currently manages the Weatherization Assistance Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for Middlesex County.

In 2009, New Jersey's CSBG program received $27,391,962 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Funds (ARRA) and $19,062,600 in annual CSBG funds.

For more information about the CSBG Program, please log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/comact.html.