PERTH AMBOY, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today visited the Brighton Community Center in Perth Amboy that was built with federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and has served as a catalyst for the city’s waterfront redevelopment and revitalization. President Trump has proposed sweeping budget cuts to federal programs—including eliminating CDBG—that will severely impact New Jersey communities and their ability to provide essential services, stimulate the local economy and grow jobs.

“Rather than put forward a plan to revitalize our cities, to create jobs, to foster economic growth, President Trump’s budget dismantles the lifelines our cities and towns need to jumpstart development, expand opportunity, and promote prosperity,” said Sen. Menendez, the ranking member of the Senate subcommittee that oversees HUD and the CDBG program. “This budget is an unprecedented and shameful assault on our communities, families, and the most vulnerable among us—and we’re here to say we won’t stand for it.”

The FY18 Budget slashes HUD funding by $6.2 billion, or 13.2%, and includes the elimination of the CDBG program, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and the HOME Investment Partnerships affordable housing program. In addition, the budget proposes the elimination of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which promote access to capital and local economic growth by providing affordable financing options to low-income and underserved communities.

TRUMP BUDGET CUTS AT A GLANCE

CDBG

• FY 2016 Funding for New Jersey: $81,306,178

(FY 2016 Funding for Perth Amboy: $610,182)

FY 2018 Funding for New Jersey: $0

HOME

• FY 2016 Funding for New Jersey: $24,516,493

(FY 2016 Funding for Perth Amboy: $294,930)

FY 2018 Funding for New Jersey: $0

CDFI

• FY 1996-2016 Funding for New Jersey: $34,932,844

FY 2018 Funding for New Jersey: $0

CDBG empowers cities, counties and states to launch locally-driven projects that spur private investment and economic development. CDBG creates jobs, makes essential infrastructure projects possible, and addresses unique housing needs that benefit elderly, disabled, and economically-vulnerable communities. Every $1 of CDBG funds leverages another $3.65 in other private and public investments. Over 1,200 states and local governments receive annual CDBG funding. CDBG also provides sustained, tangible investments in local communities that attract other investment dollars.

“The truth is that when you eliminate the Community Development Block Grant, you do more than cross out a single line on a ledger. You deny communities the dollars that take projects from blueprints to groundbreakings, that get children off the streets and into after-school activities, and that bring communities from adversity to prosperity,” Sen. Menendez said. “And with one stroke of the pen, the president is ready to cut communities off at the knees. And for what? To make room for tax cuts for millionaires?”

In New Jersey, CDBG funds are used for everything from Meals on Wheels to senior center improvements, lead hazard reduction, children’s music and arts programs, youth mentoring at Big Brothers & Big Sisters, rehabilitation and repairs to distressed housing, work readiness programs, juvenile offender outreach programs, and so many others.

“As an urban municipality, CDBG funds are crucial to sustaining our local non-profit and service agencies. Every dollar spent goes towards helping rebuild our aging infrastructure, first-time homebuyers, educational institutions, counseling, and youth recreation and employment programs. Stripping our community of such funding would be detrimental, creating greater fiscal challenges for all current grant recipients,” said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz.

After a fire destroyed Perth Amboy’s old tennis center in 2009, the city used CDBG money to build this Brighton Community Center, which was the first step towards a massive waterfront redevelopment and revitalization plan spanning over a mile-and-a-half in one of Perth Amboy’s poorest and most-densely populated neighborhoods to create a “recreational destination” and a place for all its 130,000 residents to use and enjoy. The project includes new parks, tennis and basketball courts, Boys & Girls Club, youth job training and programs for seniors.

Sen. Menendez has been a stalwart supporter of community development programs. He has specifically advocated and signed annual appropriations letters for federal resources to fund HUD’s CDBG and HOME programs to revitalize communities and to increase affordable housing options for low-income families.

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