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Princeton officials hope to fill gaps in transit, health and social services with additional ARPA funds

Princeton officials plan to apply for a portion of the $3 million in American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, to fill gaps in transit, health and social service programs.

Mercer County is making the ARPA funds available to the dozen municipalities in the county, according to Deputy Administrator Jeffrey Grosser.

Princeton and the other towns had already received American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds directly from the federal government, but Mercer County officials said they saw an opportunity to provide additional money to the towns to help residents in the areas of health, social services and transportation.

Grosser said Princeton is excited about the opportunity to receive additional ARPA funds through Mercer County, and the town’s grant application includes three priority areas.

One of those priority areas is mental health services for senior citizens, Grosser said.

To increase Princeton’s capacity to help those residents, the town is proposing to expand the Princeton Senior Resource Center’s social services team that works closely with Corner House Behavioral Health, he said.

“We have observed, not only through the pandemic, but the increasing older population is in need of mental health support. We would use the funding to expand the Princeton Senior Resource Center’s case manager position, who works closely with a Corner House clinician (and who has specialized training in senior populations,” Grosser said.

“Together, these two positions would coordinate care and fill gaps in services, especially Medicare. Specific services would focus on at-home counseling or visits to homebound seniors, memory loss support groups and intervention programs,” he said.

A second proposed project that could be funded with ARPA money is an expansion of the current community dental program to include senior citizens, military veterans and the disabled, Grosser said.

The third project would be an expansion of the town’s transportation system, known as Princeton Muni Transit, by adding another bus and another route, he said. Such an expansion would benefit senior citizens and other members of the Princeton community, he added.

“Princeton is looking forward to this opportunity to strengthen our support of the community through the expansion of these vital transit, health and social service programs, which sometimes overlap,” Grosser said.

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