Officials weigh community needs prior to $825,000 grant application

Feb 14, 2018

Upgrades to housing for the elderly and assistance for several nonprofits are among the requests in this year’s $825,000 Community Development Block Grant application.

A federal program, the Community Development Block Grant awards money to communities for affordable housing projects, infrastructure development and programs for low-income residents. The funds are administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Since 2012, Wareham has received six grants totaling $5 million.

That money has helped Wareham address its community needs, said Community and Economic Development Authority Manager Peter Sanborn at Tuesday’s Selectmen meeting.

The Community Development Block grant application is due on March 2. So far, Sanborn said the application will request funds for public social services and several other programs.

Included in this year’s application is the continuation of the Wareham Housing Rehabilitation Program, which provides technical and financial assistance for low-income residents to repair their homes. Also being proposed is roof replacement on three buildings at Redwood Park, which houses low-income elderly and/or disabled residents.

The application could also request funds for the Tremont Nail Company complex, completing design work on one or two of the town-owned buildings at the 7.2-acre site on Elm Street. The complex was home to the Tremont Nail Company for more than a 100 years. In 2004, the Town of Wareham bought the site using Community Preservation Act funds.

The site has seen some activity in 2017 after an antique car show and successful gala were held there. Both were designed to generate interest for the property from businesses and residents

Finally, the town is proposing to commit $50,000 to the Boys & Girls Club, $30,000 for Damien’s Place Food Pantry, $30,000 for GATRA transportation assistance, $35,000 for the Wareham Area Committee on the Homeless and Turning Point and $20,000 for the Wareham Council on Aging.

Selectman Patrick Tropeano said he believes the Boys & Girls Club is one of the most worthy nonprofit organizations in town funded through the grant.

“That’s certainly one of the most important things we do,” Tropeano said. “Idle hands lead to people looking for something, and that’s how trouble happens.”