Grosse Pointe Shores allocates CDBG dollars to senior services, transportation

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published April 2, 2024

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — The Helm at the Boll Life Center and Pointe Area Assisted Transportation Services, or PAATS, will again be getting some federal dollars through Grosse Pointe Shores.

During a meeting Feb. 20, the Grosse Pointe Shores City Council unanimously approved allocating its $20,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to The Helm and PAATS, with The Helm receiving $14,000 and PAATS receiving $6,000. The Shores is getting these dollars for the 2023 to 2024 fiscal year.

PAATS provides low-cost, door-to-door local transportation by appointment for seniors and those with disabilities living in the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. The Helm, which is headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, offers programs, resources and services to seniors in the Pointes and Harper Woods. While they are separate entities, PAATS operates out of The Helm building.

Former Helm Board President and Shores resident Prudence Cole said PAATS in particular is struggling because “the amount of requests and the … costs of providing these services …  have gone up significantly.”

Mayor Ted Kedzierski, who once used PAATS himself for medical appointments after a leg injury left him temporarily unable to drive, called it “an extraordinary service.”

Kedzierski explained that CDBG funds aren’t something the Shores could use for other purposes, as they can only be applied toward specific needs.

“This isn’t our money,” Kedzierski said. “This is federal money that gets distributed through the local counties.”

The Shores has been applying for, and receiving, CDBG monies since 2013. The funds — which originate from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — are channeled through the Wayne County CDBG Program.

“As an entitlement county, Wayne County distributes funds to participating communities, such as Grosse Pointe Shores, through a formula grant application process,” City Manager Stephen Poloni told the council.

The other Grosse Pointes typically give their CDBG allocations to The Helm and PAATS each year as well, although some of the funds have been used in the past for projects such as sidewalk ramps.