Arlington Charities Completes Building Improvements Through Community Development Block Grant
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on July 24, 2020, July 24, 2020

Arlington Charities Completes Building Improvements Through Community Development Block Grant.

Visiting the Arlington Charities’ food pantry is a lot easier for residents in need these days thanks to numerous improvements funded through a Community Development Block Grant from the City of Arlington.

The $75,000 federal grant allowed the Arlington nonprofit, located at 811 Secretary Dr., to make it easier for those who are elderly or who have a disability to access critical services. Improvements include paving the previously gravel parking lot, building a new ADA-compliant ramp for the entrance, landscaping, and installing doors with sensors that automatically open and close for visitors.

“We try to be very thoughtful stewards of our donor dollars that come in. We put as much funding as possible to the service of our clients,” Arlington Charities Executive Director Deborah Coppola said, adding that only 3% percent of fundraising goes toward the nonprofit’s overhead expenses. “We are extremely appreciative of all the support the City gives us Without this grant, it would have taken us quite a long time to raise this much money for this type of project.”

In addition to creating a smoother parking lot, Arlington Charities added two van-accessible handicap parking spaces and a sidewalk to the front entrance.

“Many of our clients are elderly, so trying to traverse a parking area with gravel and potholes while you are using a walker or wheelchair is extremely difficult, at best,” Coppola said.

 Because of COVID-19 concerns, the Arlington Charities food pantry is not open for indoor visitors. However, the nonprofit is working to help more people than before through drive-thru food distribution events held in the nonprofit’s parking lot. Coppola said the number of families served has increased from about 60 a day up to as many as 200 a day because of the economic strain of the coronavirus on Arlington families.

 The Arlington Charities’ improvement project is just one example of how the City of Arlington uses federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to serve residents. Through Community Development Block Grants, the City currently assists more than 20 nonprofit organizations that serve special populations, including youth, elderly, special needs adults and the homeless. Grants can also be used for neighborhood infrastructure improvements, such as adding ADA compliant ramps and improving streets and sidewalks in low-income neighborhoods.

 These grants help create viable neighborhoods by providing decent housing, suitable living environments, and opportunities to expand economic development, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.

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