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Funding for local groups announced

Several South Bronx organizations are slated to receive funding from the New York City Council for the programs and services they run in their communities. The city’s $78.5 billion budget was approved on June 26, including $50 million for City Council initiatives aimed at bolstering neighborhoods around the five boroughs.

Councilwomen Maria del Carmen Arroyo and Melissa Mark-Viverito will have a maximum of $760,000 each in discretionary funds for their constituencies, based on a formula measuring poverty levels in each representative’s district. Mark-Viverito will be allowed additional funds to distribute, because of her role as council speaker.

Some local groups were granted funding from the council’s overall budget in addition to allocations from the councilwomen.

In Hunts Point and Longwood, Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education was a major beneficiary. The iconic non-profit on Simpson Street will get more than $250,000 for its after-school programs. Another educational nonprofit, Rocking the Boat, will receive $40,000.

Borough-wide, housing services organization BronxWorks will receive more than $600,000 for a variety of programs, including workforce development, senior services, after-school programs and job placement for NYCHA residents in Mott Haven. Comunilife, a citywide wellness provider for at-risk Latina teens with a strong presence in the Bronx, received $340,000.

Funding for citywide initiatives includes 1,300 new police officers, six-day library service, free breakfast for elementary school students and a citywide bail fund to help defendants in criminal court stay out of jail for nonviolent, low-level offenses.

In Mott Haven, the Ghetto Film School was among the key beneficiaries. Most of the $655,000 allotted to the school will be used for an “accelerator program” focusing on professional development and job placement, according to the published expense budget.

The South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO) is another key recipient in Mott Haven, with nearly $185,000 for educational and training programs —-an increase of more than $60,000 from last year.

Per Scholas, the Port Morris-based technology training school, will receive nearly $158,000.

The Bronx Defenders, the Melrose legal services organization that came under fire earlier this year when several employees took part in a rap video that condoned the shooting of police officers, received $10,000 from Arroyo. The council will also provide $1.5 million from its overall budget for Bronx Defenders to provide legal services for detained immigrants facing deportation.

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