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Group seeks grants to stretch budgets
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Though economic troubles have slowed progress for communities across the country, federal and state grants are allowing Hinesville to put money into much needed areas of improvement and expansion.
Efforts to improve public safety are one of many areas communities can support through grants funding. Hinesville is seeking funds through the Department of Homeland Security’s Fire Prevention and Safety Grants program to help support fire safety education.
The fire department’s current Safety Awareness and Fire Education  (S.A.F.E.) house is not accessible by individuals with disabilities or most adults; the funding, if approved, will be used to to purchase a larger, wheelchair-accessible S.A.F.E. house to use when educating residents and school-age children about fire safety.
The DHS grant calls for a 10 percent cash match by the city, something many grant programs call for — the new S.A.F.E. house comes with a $61,179 price tag, so the department is requesting $55,061 and the city will provide $6,118.
Road improvements also present an opportunity for community leaders to use available money through the state and federal governments. The GATEway grant through the Georgia Department of Transportation, designed to cover the cost of roadside enhancement and beautification, is another program being pursued by the city.
If this request is approved, the $50,000 allotment would be used to help improve a portion of the Frank Cochran extension between Highways 196 and 84.
“Federal and state funding is critical for city projects and programs, especially social projects such as transitional housing and road projects such as the Frank Cochran Drive widening,” City Manager Billy Edwards said. “That is a $12 million project, and the Hinesville Bypass is a $50 million project.”
Community assistance programs in Hinesville receive attention and steady funding, as well. To bolster its Next Step program, which provides supportive housing to homeless individuals and families, Hinesville’s community development department regularly pursues grants.
Grants specialist LaDonna Frasier said grants are a predominant source of financial support for commnity development programs like Next Step. “The city inputs a portion of funds, but we have other small grants that we use to assist people with utility bills and things like that,” she said.
Money from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs helps offset the cost of  program administration and leasing costs for 10 apartment units and single family dwellings. This year again, the department submitted a continuum of care grant request for $62,546 to the DCA.
We couldn’t do projects like these without funding; we just don’t have the resources locally,” Edwards said. “The funds ensure that we’re able to provide a sustainable quality of life for the residents of Hinesville and Liberty County.”
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