Princeton officials plan to apply for part of the $3 million in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to fill gaps in transportation, health and human services programs.

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

Princeton and other cities already received ARPA funds directly from the federal government, but Mercer County officials said they see an opportunity to allocate additional money to cities to help residents with health, social services and transportation.

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

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

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

“We have noticed that not only because of the pandemic, the elderly population is increasingly in need of mental health support. We would use the funding to expand the position of manager at the Princeton Senior Resource Center, who works closely with the Corner House clinician (and has special training for seniors), Grosser said.

“Together, these two positions will coordinate care and fill gaps in services, particularly in Medicare. Specific services will focus on home counseling or home visits for seniors who are homebound, memory loss support groups and intervention programs,” he said.

A second proposed project that could be funded by ARPA money is expanding the current community dental program to include seniors, veterans and the disabled, Grosser said.

A third project would be to expand the city’s transit system, known as Princeton Muni Transit, by adding another bus and another route, he said. Such expansion will benefit senior citizens and other members of the Princeton community, he added.

“Princeton looks forward to this opportunity to strengthen our community support through the expansion of these vital, sometimes overlapping, transit, health and social services programs,” Grosser said.

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