14 Local Community Projects Funded in Appropriations Package

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Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) announced that she successfully funded 14 Community Project Funding priorities, totaling $10,079,774, through the House Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations package was signed into law in December 2022. The purpose of Community Project Funding is to enable Members of Congress to allocate available federal funds to worthy, local projects in a timely manner.

While each congressional office processes Community Project Funding requests differently, all Members are required to publicly disclose their selections and sign letters certifying they have no personal financial interest in the projects. To ensure transparency for and accountability to her constituents, Houlahan goes above and beyond House guidelines by creating a non-partisan community board to review applications and make recommendations regarding project selection.

“These funds are going to make a real, tangible difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians in Chester and Berks Counties,” said Houlahan. “Our office received dozens of worthy funding proposals, and with the help of a board of non-partisan local leaders, we were able to advocate for projects that will improve health, safety, education, and workforce opportunities across our region. I am thrilled that we were successful in securing requested funding for 14 community-focused projects. From Reading to Oxford and everywhere in between, our residents will see safer and more reliable roadways, expanded and accessible green spaces, improved educational opportunities for our kids, and more.”

In alphabetical order, Houlahan secured the following funding on behalf of local organizations:

1.     $2,000,000 for Alvernia University Reading CollegeTowne Health Science Expansion.  

“The second phase of the Reading CollegeTowne project will provide a much-needed influx of skilled healthcare professionals in an expanding healthcare landscape in Berks County,” said Alvernia University President John R. Loyack. “Community partnership has been essential to the early success of the CollegeTowne strategy and the federal funding will support the creation of cutting-edge labs for our student’s experiential learning to develop our students to meet our community’s healthcare needs.”

2.     $1,907,500 for Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation.  

“Berks Latino Workforce Development Corporation extends the deepest gratitude to Representative Houlahan for her effort in securing this Community Project Funding for Berks Latino and the other organizations who will benefit from this opportunity,” said Violet Emory, Executive Director. “This funding will allow Berks Latino to focus on the physical renovation of our training facility and the purchase of equipment to be used to establish skills and training programs.  By renovating and updating our facility, the project will create a permanent benefit to the community by providing education and training opportunities for many low-income residents of Berks County, especially those with limited English-speaking abilities.  Thank you for believing in our mission and providing a means for Berks Latino to continue to empower the residents of Berks County.”

3.     $216,656 for Borough of West Grove – Oakland Avenue Revitalization.  

“West Grove Borough is profoundly grateful to receive the support of Representative Houlahan and her Staff to be selected as one of the fourteen ‘FY23 Community Project Funding Award’ Recipients,” said Greg McCummings, Manager of West Grove Borough.  “The Borough will be allocating the funds to further improve pedestrian walkability and safety within the community.  The funds will be used to install handicap accessible sidewalks and crosswalks on a section of roadway that does not currently have sidewalks.  The awarded funds will connect the Northeast corner of the Borough to the downtown commercial district as well as recreational opportunities in Memorial Park.  Your support is a critical component of the Borough achieving the goals set forth in our Comprehensive Plan.  On behalf of the residents and business owners of West Grove Borough, thank you!”

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4.     $635,713 for Centro Hispano Daniel Torres Inc – Reading Community Health Hub Project.  

“In the city of Reading, health disparities among our most vulnerable population has reached unprecedented levels,” said Mike Toledo, President and CEO. “The need to break down the barriers to health access has never been more important.  This grant funding will allow the Centro Hispano to serve as a trusted health hub in the heart of the city.  Through our bilingual and bicultural programs and services, our goal is to improve health equity and access for all.”

5.     $1,000,000 for City of Coatesville Ash Park Master Plan Implementation.  

“The City of Coatesville is honored to be one of 14 community projects funded by Representative Chrissy Houlahan. The recognition given to the Ash Park Master Plan speaks to Representative Houlahan’s awareness to provide safe environments designed to enhance the quality of life and youth development opportunities for park visitors and residents,” said James Logan, Coatesville City Manager. “Ash Park is one of Coatesville’s oldest parks in the City, covering 9.3 acres of open recreational space. According to County records, Ash Park was purchased by the City of Coatesville in 1917. This funding serves as the kick-starter for Phase I of a five (5) year renovation, preservation and construction improvement project. The new features will help shape programming, events, and other outreach efforts to bring thousands of people to the park. We are excited about the future of Ash Park and thanks to Chrissy Houlahan, we are already making great strides toward the future.”

6.     $100,000 for The Garage Community & Youth Center – After School Youth Development Program.  

“The Garage Community & Youth Center (The Garage) is honored and thrilled to be a recipient of Community Project Funding from Congresswoman Houlahan’s office,” said Kristin Proto, Executive Director. “The Garage serves as a liaison between the community and our families, promoting the equity and inclusion of an underserved and marginalized population. With this essential Community Project Funding support, The Garage will have increased capacity to address the rapidly expanding basic needs and programs which serve our community including reliable transportation, accessible mental health services and programming, and expansion of creative development programs for youth and community members.  Our organization has been providing support through after-school programming for over twenty years, and with the help of the community, friends, and partners like the Sixth Congressional District, we look forward to another twenty years!”

7.     $750,000 for Kennett Library – New Kennett Library Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment.  

“The Kennett Library thanks Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and Sen. Bob Casey for including the new Kennett Library & Resource Center as one of the 14 recipients for the FY23 Community Project Funding Award,” said Jeff Yetter, President of the Library’s Board of Trustees.  “This new library will bring innovative services and resources to the Kennett region to enrich and improve the lives of all of our citizens. We look forward to opening the doors this spring and offer our community a safe and beautiful space to learn and grow.”

8.     $29,385 for Keystone Valley Fire Dept. Stryker lift EMT.  

“The Keystone Valley Fire Department…is very grateful to be selected by Representative Houlahan and Staff to be one of the fourteen ‘FY23 Community Project Funding Award” Recipients,” said Joseph (Joe) Miles, EMS Manager, Keystone Valley Fire Department. “Our fire department will be allocating the awarded funds to our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division for the purpose of purchasing a Stryker PowerLOAD lift system that allows for the loading and unloading of the patient on the stretcher [and] will also help reduce injury to our providers…Thank you again for empowering a local EMS agency to better care for our patients and our crews.”

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9.     $605,000 for LCH Behavioral/Mental Health Support.  

“LCH thanks Representative Houlahan for her strong support of our mission on behalf of the over 9,000 patients we serve. LCH is celebrating 50 years of serving southern Chester County with comprehensive primary healthcare for everyone in the community,” said Ronan Gannon, CEO, “and the Community Project grant will help LCH to continue to adapt to and address our community’s evolving behavioral and mental health needs.”

10.  $113,520 for LGBT Center of Greater Reading – Violence Reduction Project.   

“The LGBT Center of Greater Reading is incredibly grateful for the opportunities the Community Project grant will afford our team and the community at large, ” said Michelle Dech, CEO. “The grant’s funding will provide an immediate ability to enhance our core services and drop-in hours as a safe space for our at-risk and marginalized communities… this funding will help us address the causes of violence through workshops, training, mentorship programming, and expanded scholastic and workforce development. We continue to value Representative Houlahan’s advocacy for and involvement in our community and look forward to making the most of this grant funding.”

11.  $1,056,000 for Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS) Infrastructure Upgrades. 

“Representative Chrissy Houlahan and her staff worked tirelessly to secure these funds for PA’s 6th district, and we are beyond grateful,” said Mary Fuller, Executive Director of Phoenixville Area Community Services (PACS). “We will use our $1,056,000 in Community Project Funding to complete much-needed infrastructure upgrades at our food distribution center. Our neighbors experiencing food insecurity will benefit as a result of our improved accessibility, dependable electrical system, and expanded cold storage capacity. As we serve more than triple the number of people we did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds will put PACS in an ideal position to nurture food security in the greater Phoenixville area for years to come.”

12.  $750,000 for Reading Housing Authority – Oakbrook Homes Center for Community Services.  

“On behalf of the 1,600 children and adults who live in Reading’s largest public housing community, we are profoundly grateful to Representative Houlahan for her support in securing funds for the Oakbrook Homes Center for Community Services,” said Stacey Keppen, Executive Director.  “Barriers such as transportation and the neighborhood’s 3-mile distance from the downtown hub have prevented residents from accessing many of the existing services that could otherwise support their self-sufficiency.  This Community Project Funding will allow our organization to repurpose two existing buildings in Oakbrook Homes to create a Neighborhood Resource Center with shared space for human services agencies, two large multipurpose spaces for programming including education and workforce development, a business center, and a small grocery store and food pantry.  Utilization of these services will be enhanced by the nearby Family Services Complex, to offer childcare and early education.  We expect these centers to make a sustainable impact not only upon the residents that they serve, but upon the availability of affordable housing for our city’s most economically vulnerable as residents move beyond life in public housing, thus freeing resources for those who need it most.”

13.  $200,000 for United Way of Chester County – United Way Social Innovation Lab.  

“When United Way of Chester County decided to pursue an aggressive project to create a permanent headquarters for the organization, we wanted to make sure that this new home included space to help nonprofit organizations be more entrepreneurial and innovative and then support pilot programs to allow them to try creative solutions to community problems,” said Chris Saello, President and CEO. “Knowing that Congresswoman Houlahan has been an entrepreneur in her career we immediately reached out to her for guidance and support. As she has always done for United Way of Chester County, she went to bat for us in Washington D.C. and secured pivotal funding to allow the United Way of Chester County Social Innovation Lab to be born. This facility and program will serve nonprofits throughout Chester County for years to come and would not have happened with Representative Houlahan’s support. We are so grateful to the congresswoman for the ongoing support and trust in our organization and look forward to sharing with her and the community the exciting work that develops from this lab in the future.”

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14.  $715,770 for West Chester University – WCU Moonshot I Want to STEM. 

“West Chester University (WCU) is deeply grateful to U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan and U.S. Senator Bob Casey for advocating successfully on the University’s behalf to secure a much-needed appropriations funding in the amount of $716,000 to support WCU Moon Shot: I Want to STEM (sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics)!,” says Senior Vice President and Interim Provost Jeffery L. Osgood. “This critical project is an essential component of the University’s Moon Shot for Equity mission, which is dedicated to closing equity gaps in student success and defying systemic barriers by 2030 so all WCU students can excel. The WCU College of Sciences and Mathematics Center for STEM Inclusion and the Center for Nanomaterials has designed the I Want to STEM! initiative as a comprehensive outreach, research, and mentorship program that will guide students successfully from elementary school to a bachelor’s degree in STEM. The program will establish a chain of mentorship between grade 3-12 students, undergraduates, and faculty/industry partners. The project, which has the potential to serve as a dynamic model for addressing achievement gaps, has been intentionally designed to expand K-12 STEM engagement for students in grades 3-12 who are of color and low income, as well as to improve college STEM retention by increasing financial assistance and building a sense of community for college students at WCU who are of color and low income. Supporting this transformative work demonstrates that inclusion is an uncompromising priority for all of us.”

Houlahan added: “For the second year in a row, I have seen the positive impact these funds can deliver for Southeastern Pennsylvania. I look forward to our office’s continued partnership with these incredible organizations so we can support them as they serve our community.”

All the project details and purposes, as well as the letters certifying Houlahan has no personal financial interest in the projects can be found on her website here.

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