State Funding Expected to Decline for Transportation Programs for Ocean County’s Elderly and Disabled
A grant program funded with state money to help non-profit organizations in Ocean County provide transportation for the elderly and disabled, is expected to continue to decline, warned the Board of Freeholders.
This is the 30th year the county will distribute more than $40,000 to 20 non-profits through a mini-grant program that began in 1985 and has provided almost $1.8 million to a variety of organizations so they can provide transportation to specific participants.
"The program is funded through a portion of the county's casino revenue grant received from NJ Transit," said Gerry P. Little, Freeholder Deputy Director and liaison to Ocean Ride. "Ocean County continues to be the only county in the state to provide a portion of its grant funds to help local non-profit agencies."
Applicants for the 2015 award program were allowed to receive a maximum of $2,000 each.
Little warned the county's casino revenue grant has been declining since 2008.
"It has gone from a high of $2.8 million, to this year, $1.83 million," he said.
The decline in funding is due to the recession and a drop in the casino gambling industry in Atlantic City, according to Little.
He pointed out funding next year will remain the same because of online gambling revenue.
"So next year it will be even, and then 2017 is going to go 10 percent less than what we're getting in 2015," Little said.
It's uncertain how the projected lower funding will impact transportation for seniors and the disabled in the future.
Non-profits receiving grants this year are: The Arc, Ocean County Chapter, Inc.; Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey; Community Medical Center Foundation; Community Services, Inc. of Ocean County; Counseling and Referral Services of Ocean County/Seashore Family Services Inc.; Eye Openers of Point Pleasant/Brick; Interfaith Health & Support Services of Southern Ocean County; Jewish Family & Children's Services/Jewish Federation of O.C.; LADACIN Network (Cerebral Palsy of Mon./Ocean Counties); Long Beach Island Community Center; Manchester Township Senior Outreach Program; NJ Coalition of Women & Disabilities Ocean County Chapter, Ocean County Board of Social Services; Ocean Housing Alliance, Inc.; Our Special Kids of Toms River,Inc.; Team Randy; Toms River Township Senior Center; Twenty-One-Plus, Inc., and Vetwork, a program of Vetgroup, Inc.