Sandy-related money for at-risk children, debris removal, ramp work

TRENTON – With the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy arriving Tuesday, the state rolled out a series of new grant initiatives exceeding $6 million in federal aid.

The programs will provide help for marine debris removal, ramp repair, and  protect youth at risk due to the storm.

Approximately $2 million will be available to remove debris, with grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000, the Department of Environmental Protection reported.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported it anticipates awarding about 15 grants to towns.

The state also awarded the first ramp work grant from a $2.89 million block grant. The recipients are an elderly couple in Point Pleasant Beach, whose homemade ‘make-shift’ ramp was washed away by Superstorm Sandy.

Joseph and Aldea Tomlinson bought their home 45 years ago, and it was repaired except for the ramp, the Department of Human Services reported.

“The ability to enter and egress a residence safely is critical for people with disabilities,” said Joseph Amoroso, director of the Division of Disability Services. “This ramp gives the Tomlinsons back their independence, safety and self-sufficiency.”

And finally, the state said state it will use more than $1.5 million from a federal Social Services Block Grant to expand services aimed at protecting vulnerable youth.

“We’ve seen instances throughout the world where predators have seized on disasters as opportunities to exploit youth,” said Department of Children and Families Commissioner Alison Blake.

Federal funds went to award contracts to Bridgewater-based Somerset Home for Temporarily Displaced Children and Atlantic City-based Covenant House New Jersey of Atlantic City for street outreach to vulnerable youth in Sandy-impacted areas.

New Brunswick-based Prevent Child Abuse New Jersey will train social service providers about human trafficking and educate vulnerable youth on how to avoid becoming a victim.

  Sandy-related money for at-risk children, debris removal, ramp work