Cumberland Times-News

February 13, 2013

YMCA, Friends Aware seeking block grants

Groups want money for facility renovations

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Seeking to do a lot of good with sometimes small amounts of money, a number of local organizations appeared at Tuesday’s City Council meeting at City Hall to make their case for Community Development Block Grant funding during a public hearing.

The downtown YMCA hopes to complete a project started last year, said Don Enterline, the CEO of the YMCA, said. Windows in the top floors of the building were replaced with a $25,000 grant last year and this year the YMCA hopes to finish off the project using new, energy-efficient windows, he said.

Enterline said the organization needs about $26,000 to “finish the job.”

The downtown YMCA works with people in need of housing and also with single mothers.

Also seeking money was Friends Aware, an organization that helps people with developmental disabilities.

Friends Aware, too, was looking for help renovating a property so that it could be used as a respite facility, said Kathleen Breighner, community relations and resource development director for the organization.

A recent grant made it possible for the three men living there to open the windows for fresh air, which they had previously been unable to do.

Further renovations will include making the facility wheelchair and walker accessible, Breighner said. The organization is seeking $15,835.

Susan Malone of the Human Resources and Development Council was also seeking funding for a variety of programs, including Laura’s Anchor, a homeless shelter for single women and their children. HRDC also provides weatherization and energy assistance for lower-income citizens.

Steve Kesner of the city’s Housing Authority requested funds for sitework at authority-owned apartment buildings.

Resources for Independence requested $18,000 for removing architectural barriers for individuals using canes, walkers and other devices to assist mobility.

Most of that money would go to building ramps, widening doorways and similar work, said Roger Cannon, who represented the organization at the meeting.

Allegany Health Right is trying to make its dental care program obsolete, said David Stewart, who runs the dental care portion of the organization.

By partnering with the Allegany County Health Department, the program has been able to increase the return on investment of grant monies, Stewart said.

Sixty-two percent of the patients served by the dental program are city residents earning less than $10,000 per year, he said.

For the first time in several years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Alleghenies will be seeking funding, said Kimi-Scott McGreevy, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Alleghenies. The organization is hoping to use the funds to expand programming for a waiting list of more than 20 children, she said.

Applications for funding will continue to be accepted through Feb. 26, with public comment accepted through April 23.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com