This article originally appeared on the website for The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County
GREENSBURG, PA, JULY 13, 2023 – Eight Westmoreland County nonprofits providing direct human services support have received significant grants from the Human Services American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Program. The grants were announced by the Westmoreland County Commissioners and Westmoreland County Department of Human Services today and distributed through a partnership with The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County (CFWC).
“Today, we celebrate the power of collaboration and compassion,” said Westmoreland County Commissioner Chair Sean Kertes in announcing the ARPA grants. “The ARPA human service funding will enable us to address critical needs, from mental health services to homeless prevention and housing. By investing in our residents and their well-being, we are nurturing a thriving community where everyone has the opportunity to succeed.”
The awardees are:
- George Junior Republic for the Restore Program $375,730: To support previously incarcerated people make amends, improve mental health and successfully transition back into their respective environments through community service and job readiness.
- Life’sWork of Western PA, $159,000: For employment support services for up to 200 individuals in recovery from addictions and other related issues associated with substance use disorders.
- Pressley Ridge for The HELP Team, $499,905: For a mobile outreach behavioral health team that will respond to youth, young adults, and families in Westmoreland County who are experiencing a crisis.
- Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. for the PIC Out of School Time STEAM Enrichment Program, $238,000: To provide out-of-school time STEAM curriculum, tutoring and character development activities to Monessen elementary students to improve behavior and increase grades in a safe environment. Parent engagement will include mental health activities.
- SPHS Connect Inc.’s Welcome Home Emergency Homeless Shelter Renovation Project, $151,500: To fund complete renovations at the Welcome Home Emergency Shelter facility in Greensburg.
- Union Mission for affordable supportive housing expansion, $350,000: To expand safe, affordable housing options to strengthen the overall homeless response system and create a stronger move-on strategy.
- Wesley Family Services, $443,646: To create a comprehensive whole person care innovation hub at the New Kensington facility to address social determinants of health, provide transportation and strengthen families.
- Westmoreland Community Action, $782,219: For welcome centers with crisis support to assist Westmoreland County residents in obtaining basic needs including housing and mental health support.
According to Department of Human Services Director Robert Hamilton, the fact that there were 44 applicants for the ARPA human service funding underscores the great need in the community. “There is urgent demand for mental health support, crisis response, homelessness prevention, children and youth services, and workforce development. With this funding, we are equipped to address these pressing needs and make a significant impact in Westmoreland County. Together, we are committed to ensuring a brighter future for all our residents.”
Hamilton’s office also created this information graphic to illustrate how grants were distributed by category.
McCrae Martino, executive director of CFWC, which developed guidelines and a request for proposal, credits the County Commissioners and DHS for leadership in developing the partnership.
“The County Commissioners has a vision for how government and philanthropy could work together. They saw the tremendous needs in this community and recognized that CFWC would be able to create a grants process to distribute ARPA dollars into the community quickly to meet the greatest needs,” Martino said.
A committee of community leaders, Foundation staff and experts from the Department of Human Services evaluated applications and made recommendations to the county commissioners, who provided final review and approval.
“We are excited to announce that the ARPA human service funding will provide us with the resources to address critical needs in our community,” said Westmoreland County Commission Vice Chair Douglas Chew. “By focusing on mental health, crisis response, homelessness prevention, children and youth services, and workforce development, we are creating a comprehensive support system that will empower our residents to thrive. Together, we will shape a brighter future for Westmoreland County.”
In 2021, Westmoreland County was awarded $105.3 million in ARPA funds for local recovery efforts and to support families and businesses struggling with related public health and economic impacts. The County Commissioners allocated $3 million of those funds to the Department of Human Services for distribution. DHS coordinated with CFWC to create an application and funding process.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to allocate the ARPA human service funding towards making a real difference in Westmoreland County. Through this investment, we will strengthen our crisis response capabilities, enhance mental health support, and provide essential services for children, youth, and our workforce. Together, we will build a stronger, more resilient community,” said Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cirilli Thrasher.
Nonprofits will have until Dec. 31, 2024, to utilize the grants to expand service in the county, launch new programs to meet need or to fund innovations to existing programs.