Out of the $3.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that was allocated by the Warren County Commission in late August, $750,000 is going to three nonprofit agencies that …
Out of the $3.4 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding that was allocated by the Warren County Commission in late August, $750,000 is going to three nonprofit agencies that fulfill specialized needs within the area.
Warren County Handicapped Services, Warren County Sheltered Workshop, and Turning Point are each receiving $250,000. The organizations all share two important traits in common: they serve underprivileged groups who don’t have much other support, and they each face steep costs for facility projects to expand their services.
Handicapped Services, also known as Warren County Pathfinders, provides daily care, life skills education, recreation, housing support and transportation for people with developmental disabilities. The agency will use its $250,000 to replace failing transportation vans and reduce debt on its facility, said Executive Director Kelli Clodfelter.
A new services facility, built in 2021, cost more than $1 million and was meant to have half of its cost covered by tax credits that are sold to area businesses. But the COVID pandemic wrecked the market for tax credits, Clodfelter said, leaving the nonprofit holding an extra $400,000 in debt that they didn’t anticipate.
About $151,000 will go toward debt reduction, which Clodfelter said could reduce the nonprofit’s monthly cost for debt payments and leave more money for services.
The other $99,000 will pay for two new vans that Handicapped Services/Pathfinders uses to provide access to all its services. Clients rely on the transportation for employment opportunities, daily services, Special Olympics, and medical appointments.
Again because of the pandemic, the nonprofit hasn’t been able to replace failing vehicles before now.
“It’s a huge impact if they can’t get where they need to go each day,” Clodfelter said. “This was absolutely needed, and we’re absolutely grateful for every bit of help at this point in time.”
Sheltered Workshop is another service that works with people who have disabilities. The workshop in Truesdale provides daily employment by contracting various services for other businesses.
Executive Director Jami Washburn said her nonprofit applied for ARPA funding in order to rehabilitate or replace an outdated building on its property that’s currently only usable for storage. The building is the original Sheltered Workshop facility that was built in 1978, and does not meet modern safety codes, Washburn said.
The $250,000 ARPA funding, with the possible addition of reserve funding, will put the nonprofit in reach of reclaiming or replacing that facility, a project that Washburn said would otherwise not be feasible.
“This will give us the opportunity to use the building to expand, to get some more customers ... so that we can provide more employment,” Washburn said. “We would not be able to update the facility without this money. ... We’re so excited. This is a dream come true.”
Turning Point provides a shelter and advocacy services for victims of domestic and sexual violence, serving Warren County and the surrounding region. Last year the shelter completed a major expansion that took it from 12 beds to 36 beds, said Executive Director Sarah Gramanzini.
But carrying out that expansion caused the nonprofit to take on debt that occupies a large portion of its monthly budget, Gramanzini said. The ARPA funding will take a sizable chunk out of that debt.
“With the debt reduction, we are now able to have additional funds to assist the clients, whether it be transportation to court cases, or assistance with housing. ... The money that would have gone toward debt is now utilized directly for clients,” Gramanzini elaborated.
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