This is a press release from Essex County. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced $1 million in grant funding is available to support shelter operations and street outreach activities to prevent homelessness. The funds are targeted to help shelters and community-based agencies that have been providing homeless prevention services during the pandemic. The application deadline is Monday, December 6th at 6 p.m. The application can be accessed at www.EssexCountyNJ.org and clicking on the “2021 Essex County COVID-19 Assistance Grant for Homeless Prevention” link.

“Shelters and community-based organizations play a major role in providing a safety net for our vulnerable communities and that role was magnified during the pandemic. This grant program will help agencies that expanded their services or saw an increased demand for support during these unprecedented times,” DiVincenzo said.

The grants will cover costs incurred due to the pandemic that are beyond the base cost required to operate a shelter or provide outreach services. The activities must have contributed to helping stop the spread of the virus, reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and mitigate the social, economic and public health impacts caused by the pandemic. Examples of eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), providing handwashing stations or portable toilets in and around shelters, installing plexiglass separators, training providers and staff on infectious disease prevention, transporting homeless individuals to medical appointments, providing legal services and providing temporary housing in hotels or motels. Permanent housing in hotels or motels is not an accepted use.

Grant funds can be used to reimburse COVID-related expenses since October 1, 2020, and to cover future anticipated eligible expenses.

Funding for this grant is through the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program and comes from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act singed into law in 2020. The Essex County Office of Housing and Community Development is administering the grant process.