Bettering Plainfield with the facts since 2005

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mapp's veterans housing initiative moves ahead

The Dudley House facility on Putnam Avenue.
(Image: Google Maps)
NOTE: Council President Storch offers a clarification; see below.

City Council acted Monday evening to advance Plainfield
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's veterans housing initiative, by approving a resolution to apply for a grant to renovate the former Dudley House facility.

Mapp had outlined an initiative to house Plainfield's homeless veterans in his State of The City address, having been inspired by programs undertaken by mayors of other cities across the country.

The resolution (R319-16) authorizes the city to submit a grant application in partnership with Homefirst, the housing organization, for $350,00 to renovate the city-owned Dudley House property.

Discussion on the resolution centered around where the program funds would come from to operate the facility once it is refurbished (the assumption being that the grant application will be successful).

Council President Cory Storch had stated at last week's agenda-setting session that he would not be in favor of the proposal moving forward unless representatives of Homefirst were present at this week's meeting to answer his questions about funding.

Homefirst Executive Director Debbie-Ann Anderson was present and told Council President Storch that the organization had the expertise to provide the housing services contemplated and would be looking for grant funding for the program side os the project.

Storch reiterated that he did not want to have the matter come back to the Council for program funding if there were any difficulties on Homefirst's part.

Council President Storch corrects me on the above statement --

I said that I do want the administration to come back to City Council prior to renovations to Dudley House, whether or not the are problems procuring service funding, but particularly if there are problems getting enough financial support to provide veterans services.  We all support this concept but if we spend $350,000 on renovations and have no service funding, where does that leave us?
When the vote finally went down, the resolution passed on a unanimous voice vote, 5-0. Councilors Brown and Taylor were absent.

City Council's next meeting is an agenda-fixing session on Monday, October 3. That will be at 7:30 PM in the Council Chambers/Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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