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Local groups request continued block grant support for 2020

Local organizations that assist people in need throughout Southold Town have requested federal Community Development Block Grant funding from the Southold Town Board.  

The town will receive approximately $230,000 in April 2020 that board members can allocate.

Officials from Community Action Southold Town and Maureen’s Haven both spoke at last Tuesday’s Town Board meeting to request that the town continue to allocate funds for their organizations.

CAST executive director Cathy Demeroto said the nonprofit relies primarily on private donations and grants. CAST’s website says the organization aims to “promote self-sufficiency and provide a safety net for Southold Town residents.”

“Since 1965, CAST has served vulnerable individuals and families in the Town of Southold,” Ms. Demeroto said. “Notably, 6.8% of residents in Southold Town, 13.7% of children under 18, 18.1% of children under 5 and 21.7% of Hispanics or Latinos are living below the federal poverty level.”

She expressed, too, the significant numbers of economically disadvantaged students in local school districts. CAST provides nutrition to food insecure families through a food pantry, offers ESL classes, child home visits and has many additional services dedicated to advancing those in need.

“In 2019, we have already served approximately 500 unique households and have already had well over 7,000 visits to CAST — and that does not include all our education programs that are off-site,” she said. “As more families in our community are struggling to make ends meet, CAST is a vital resource helping families with their essential needs, including food.”

Executive director Dan O’Shea of Maureen’s Haven, a nonprofit outreach organization that aims to “protect the East End homeless by providing shelter, supportive services and compassionate care for individuals in need,” shared that sentiment.

“We are the only agency on the entire East End solely dedicated to the homeless population,” Mr. O’Shea said.

Maureen’s Haven operates a day center for its guests, he said, providing “access to support services, programs, case management [and] social work.” The group also provides health care screenings through a partnership with Hudson River Healthcare, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis screenings through a partnership with Northwell Health, a food clinic in partnership with Eastern Suffolk BOCES and an emergency winter shelter program.

“Overall in 2018, we provided services to approximately 250 people. About 25 of those individuals originate[d] from the Town of Southold,” Mr. O’Shea said.

To date in 2019, Maureen’s Haven has provided services to at least 160 individuals, 15 to 20 of whom are estimated to be from Southold.

Denis Noncarrow, the town’s government liaison, said the about amount of federal grant money the town receives has increased.

Southold has completed a number of CDBG-funded projects in the last year, many of which are ADA-related, he said.

“We did the parking lot at the [recreation] center, we did the power doors there, we did the ramp there,” Mr. Noncarrow said. “These are big projects that I am very thankful [to] the block grant folks at Suffolk County for supporting us with … Every year, we’re going to be doing more and more ADA projects because there’s a need out there.”

Currently, he said, he and his staff are looking into a walkability ADA project at the Human Resource Center in Mattituck.

”We’ve been finding that the door [at the Town Hall Annex] and the ramp, it’s a big help,” he said. “I watch people come up all day long with walkers and they hit that button and come right in.”

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