Five non-profits on St. Croix presented their cases for getting a share of the $1.8 million the Department of Housing and Urban Development has made available to fund community development projects next year.
The St. Croix district will have $721,875 to divide up, the same amount as the St. Thomas District. HUD allows another $360,937 to be set aside for administrative and planning for the projects.
The estimated cost of the five St. Croix projects would be $882,680.
The Community Development Block Grant department of the V. I. Housing Finance Authority oversees the awarding of the grants. On Wednesday, it held a public hearing on the St. Thomas proposals.
The Women’s Coalition of St. Croix, Inc. made the first presentation at the Thursday hearing. It is requesting $500,000 to construct a two-bedroom apartment to be used as part of the transitional housing program, as well as two office spaces for staff at 7 East Street, Christiansted.
According to the presentation, the project would also allow a new kitchen area that can be used by clients in the transitional housing program and an outdoor extension of the community conference room. The new kitchen construction would incorporate historic ruins that are on the property.
One objective of the HUD grant program is to benefit people of low income and another is to prevent urban blight. All projects presented Thursday would fill one or both of those objectives.
The Village — Partners in Recovery, Inc is requesting $250,000 to renovate the driveway of the Sion Hill facility that was damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The facility provides residential, outpatient substance use disorder and mental health treatment for individuals who have limited income and are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The program serves 63 individuals in the residential program and 40 outpatient clients annually.
Liberty Place is requesting $66,500 to continue the renovation/re-development of the Community First Services Hub located at Plot nos. 82-A, 82-B and 82-C Estate Whim, Frederiksted.
The work is to include the construction of ADA ramps, a meditation garden, and a memorial columbarium. (A columbarium is a structure for the reverential storage of funerary urns holding the cremains of the dead).
Perfect Will Reading has requested $46,180 for an enrichment and discovery program. The project would encompass a spring and summer intervention aimed at increasing the reading ability and literacy skills of students in local elementary schools. The pilot program will serve students in the kindergarten through third grades at the Claude O. Markoe and Lew Muckle elementary schools.
The St. Croix Foundation for Community Development, Inc is requesting $20,000 for its Mon Bijou Summer Program. The program offers a free summer camp at the Mon Bijou Community Center for students ranging from ages six to 15. The summer camp will offer academics, social and emotional learning, agriculture, arts and crafts, project-based learning, and STEM activities.
Upon completion of the vetting by the Housing and Finance Authority, there will be a second public hearing in July to present those projects it selected for funding.
An action plan will be submitted to the federal government on Aug. 15 and funds should be available for the projects on Jan 1. 2024.