Rep. Wild Announces $1.8 Million for Community Block Grants in Greater Lehigh Valley
LEHIGH VALLEY, PA – Today, U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) was joined by Alan Jennings, the Executive Director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV) in a virtual press conference to announce $1.84 million in additional funding for CACLV through the CARES Act passed by Congress in March. This funding will allow CACLV to expand its critical programs to provide immediate community support through the COVID-19 crisis and build the organization’s capacity to reach more low-income families in the region.
Wild and Jennings were joined on the virtual press conference by Otis McNeil, the owner of Custom Weatherization, who got his start through CACLV and its lending unit, and Fayola Georges, an alumna of CACLV’s Generation Next college admissions program, who just completed her freshman year at Pace University.
“In these unprecedented times we are leaning on our community action organizations and non-profits more than ever,” Wild said. “Folks who’ve never had to use supportive services are reaching out because they need help. Our local organizations are rising to that call. While I am glad that I was able to advocate for this funding at the federal level, our work is not yet done –– we know this crisis will put long-term financial strain on our communities and we must continue supporting those who support our most vulnerable populations.”
Wild has continually advocated for vital funding and support for the nation’s 1,100 Community Action Agencies to help those most in need make ends meet. With this additional funding, CACLV will be able to bolster existing programs such as food banks, community shelters, career services, and homeownership counseling, as well as build the organization’s capacity to remain one of the most consequential, community-based nonprofits in the region.
“This is the first significant funding increase since 1997. This increase is the biggest in more than 40 years of being a witness to the country’s unwillingness to take sincere and substantive steps to reduce the likelihood of people being left behind,” Jennings said. “This is the stuff that makes it worthwhile to get out of bed in the morning. There is no greater use of our individual gifts than to share with others. As dark as these days are, we cannot forget that we need each other.”
CACLV’s additional funding will also be committed to its ongoing neighborhood revitalization efforts in South Bethlehem and the Slate Belt. New funding will also be used to start a similar effort in the neighborhoods near Liberty High School on Bethlehem’s North Side.
This funding will also be used to bolster SHE, a program designed to empower young women, and expand CACLV’s work with preparing students in low-income high schools for college. In addition, CACLV will hire its first-ever marketing director, add grant-writing staff, and a volunteer coordinator to assist with managing nearly 1,000 volunteers.
A full breakdown of CACLV intended funding allocations is available here.