County Applies For Diakonia Grant Funding

SNOW HILL – County officials agreed to apply for a grant that would provide Diakonia with funding for renovations.

On Tuesday the Worcester County Commissioners approved a proposed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application at the request of Diakonia. Because the county is an eligible jurisdiction, officials agreed to submit a $282,225 grant application for the “Diakonia Emergency Housing Renovation Project.”

“This will give us the opportunity to do some major improvements,” said Allyson Bernard-Church, president of Diakonia’s board of directors.

Diakonia, which has operated its Old Bridge Road location for more than 45 years, is in the process of upgrading its facilities. According to the CDBG grant application, both buildings on the property need to have critical issues addressed. Problems range from rotten wood to water leaks.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to make health and safety upgrades for the people we serve,” Bernard-Church said.

She said that while the nonprofit had made some improvements already, including a new sprinkler system and fire alarm system, larger upgrades were needed. Diakonia officials would like to replace a roof on one of the buildings, install new siding and insulation and address several deferred maintenance issues.

In a letter to the commissioners, Diakonia Executive Director Claudia Nagle offered her appreciation for the county’s willingness to sponsor the nonprofit’s grant application.

“Diakonia is part of the fabric of the Worcester County community and this funding will help ensure that we are able to offer essential services for individuals and families in need,” she wrote.

Diakonia is the largest provider of homeless services in Worcester County. The Old Bridge Road facility provides close to 13,000 bed-nights of shelter each year, along with 100,000 bags of food. Diakonia’s food pantry serves an average of 6,800 people a year, distributing more than $1 million in food annually.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.