Grant funds sought for housing rehab, child care
Meeting last Wednesday, West Tisbury selectmen approved two joint applications that will be made in conjunction with the towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark, and Edgartown for $1,139,335 in fiscal year 2010 federal community development block grants (CDBG), to be used for housing rehabilitation projects and childcare assistance.
West Tisbury executive secretary Jennifer Rand said the housing rehab funds would be used to renovate as many as 30 homes scattered through the four communities.
To qualify for either grant, a financially eligible family of four may earn up to $62,100 annually. Should the grant for housing rehabilitation be approved for the full amount sought, $799,500 will be available to rehabilitate houses in the four applying towns. The childcare assistance subsidy sought is for $140,000, and grants would be divided into payments of up to $5,000 per child.
The federal funds will be administered by Edgartown, as the lead community, but the disbursements under both programs will be made on a first come, first served basis to qualified families, according to Alice Boyd of Bailey, Boyd Associates of West Harwich, which assists Island communities in grant applications and administration.
"Both of these programs are really economical development programs," Ms. Boyd told The Times. For the rehab program, "all of that money will go to local rehabbers." The early childhood, or daycare, grant program subsidies must be used with a state licensed daycare provider.
"The childcare program is a wonderful program, and I am overwhelmed by the need on the Island," Ms. Boyd said. According to Ms. Boyd, the Commonwealth provided childcare subsidies, but the budget was "dramatically cut" a few years ago. As a result, a child's name may be on a waiting list for subsidized pre-school childcare for five years on Martha's Vineyard, she said. "So a child born today would age out, actually be in school, before there is a slot in a pre-school program."
In other business, Dukes County parking clerk Carol Grant asked selectmen to approve her recommendation that the processing of parking tickets - now done by a vendor off-Island - be brought back in-house and done at the clerk's office. The county treasurer's office processes parking tickets for Island towns. The selectmen approved the request.