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Connolly Community Project Funding Requests Included in FY22 Appropriations Package

Today, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Operations, announced the inclusion of nine of his Community Project Funding (CPF) requests in the FY 2022 omnibus appropriations package, which passed the House last night and now heads to the Senate. 

“I was proud to secure the funding for these community projects, totaling nearly $12 million  for Fairfax and Prince William counties,” said Connolly. “These projects reflect the shared priorities of local leaders, and I am greatly looking forward to seeing these dollars in action for the people of Northern Virginia. This funding will be put toward critical efforts to bolster Northern Virginia’s response to climate change, expand affordable housing initiatives, invest in workforce development and training, and more.”

The House Committee on Appropriations solicited no more than ten requests from each member of Congress and ultimately accepted the following funding requests from Congressman Connolly, totaling more than $11,879,000 in direct funds for Virginia’s 11th District.

Project: The Innovation Skills Hub: Apprenticeship Readiness Training Program.
Recipient: Fairfax County Government
Amount: $400,000

Background: Fairfax County is launching a new skills development center to link immediate pandemic recovery efforts with long-term plans to grow employment opportunities for low-income and communities of color. One critical component is an Apprenticeship Readiness Training Program provided by the Baltimore/DC-Metro Building Trades. Apprenticeship opportunities for local Fairfax County residents are significant to ensuring good careers for local workers and sustainable economic development for the County. The Baltimore/DC-Metro Building Trades (BDCBT) places a high premium on apprenticeship training; affiliates have 27 apprenticeship and journeyperson training centers in the region. BDCBT provides free, earn-while-you-learn training for members in industry standard trades across a variety of construction crafts. Apprenticeship Readiness Programs (ARP) are a proven way to ensure that apprenticeship opportunities are available to underrepresented minorities and women. This project would create an ARP for the Innovation Skills Hub.

Project: The Merrifield Crisis Response Center (MCRC) redesign.
Recipient: Fairfax County Government
Amount: $2,000,000

Background: The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board’s (CSB) Merrifield Center is a community-based behavioral health treatment center that provides 24/7/365 access to services. In addition to same-day assessment services, the Merrifield Crisis Response Center (MCRC) operates as an assessment site where law-enforcement officers can transfer custody of non-violent offenders who may need mental health, substance use disorder, or developmental disability services to a Crisis Intervention Team-trained officer or deputy assigned there, instead of taking them to jail. Since the MCRC launched, Diversion First services have continued to expand to include: 24/7/365 onsite law enforcement; onsite medical assessment for psychiatric/crisis stabilization admission; a multi-disciplinary Community Response Team (CSB, Fire and Rescue, Peer Support, and law enforcement); 23-hour crisis stabilization beds; and, a regional hub for contracted services (alternative transportation) for transport of involuntary psychiatric admissions. This expansion in services has been critical to meet growing community needs, which have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, reconstruction is needed to sustain and expand program operations. Current program design and space is not conducive to the current pace of growth, and additional space and redesign would increase capacity to better meet community needs. In addition to space, security concerns have emerged which require the installation of quality security cameras, security film on building windows, equipment to secure the facility, and fall mitigation measures in the parking garage. This redesign is necessary due to significant programming changes since the opening of the building. The CSB embraces the nationwide movement to decriminalize mental illness. Re-designing the lower level will allow the CSB to have expanded capacity to accept individuals with a mental health issue that have been detained by police under an Emergency Custody Order. Having this service allows our community to keep individuals with mental health issues out of jail and have quicker access to the appropriate care.


Project: Stable Families, Thriving Futures: A Public Health Model Building Knowledge, Prevention and Resilience among Youth, Teens and Young Adults ages 15 – 25
Recipient: Fairfax County Government
Amount: $1,000,000

Background: The funding would be used for the Stable Families, Thriving Futures program, which will focus on improving the immediate and long-term educational, employment, and health outcomes of pregnant and parenting teens and non-parenting young adults ages 15 to 25 in Fairfax County’s underserved communities of color. The program would operate under the Fairfax County Health Department and would implement a multifaceted evidence-based experiential peer group education model, along with whole-family case management supports designed to stabilize and advance educational, employment, and health outcomes of program participants and their families. Long term outcomes for up to two years after participants graduate from the program would be tracked to support on-going program evaluation measures. The program will engage pregnant and parenting teens and non-parenting young adults, along with members of their households, to build capacity for an environment of whole-family thriving that supports overall improved health outcomes of children and families.

Project: Learning Laboratory for Social & Population Health
Recipient: George Mason University
Amount: $1,150,000

Background: This interprofessional learning lab will improve health care for communities and ensure students have improved competencies upon graduation. The learning lab will allow students to design and implement demonstration projects that generate innovative community-based healthcare models and fuel students' understanding of population health improvement for communities. The centerpiece will be the launch of a Summer Immersion Institute (SII) for 96 students. The SII curriculum will focus on building students' capacity to address social health for communities and ensure access to care for marginalized communities in Fairfax County, especially for communities who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Project: Prince William Health District Transition Initiative
Recipient: Prince William County Government
Amount: $800,000

Background: Most health departments throughout Virginia are administered by the state. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the inability of the state-managed Prince William local health district to meet the specific needs of this second largest local jurisdiction and largest majority minority community in the state – Prince William County. The Commonwealth of Virginia has granted the County the authority to operate a local health department. This project would help train the staff of the new local health department administered by Prince William County on the systems, competencies, frameworks, relationships, and resources that enable public health agencies to perform their core functions and essential services.

Project: Virginia Climate Center
Recipient: George Mason University
Amount: $1,979,000

Background: This project would establish the Virginia Climate Center to serve as a climate extension service to help communities in the Commonwealth increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. This project will establish the Center in partnership with the City of Fairfax, Fairfax County, and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission. The Center will provide products and services to Virginia firms and municipalities to adopt climate risk prevention and mitigation strategies for sustainable entrepreneurship, enhanced profitability, and wise resource management. Local decision makers will gain access to an unprecedented range of observational data, environmental models, and experts in climate science, sustainability, and engineering solutions. The Center’s data-driven decision support will save tax dollars and improve the livelihoods of Virginians, increasing resilience to severe weather, air pollution, drought and floods, with an emphasis on the underprivileged communities that are most susceptible to adverse effects of climate change.

Project: Residences at Government Center II – Community Facility
Recipient: Fairfax County Government
Amount: $1,500,000

Background: This project would help expand on the award-winning Residences at Government Center I, which I helped initiate as Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Fairfax County and the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority have established a goal to build a minimum of 5,000 new homes for families earning 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and below by 2034. As part of this plan, Fairfax County recently dedicated an approximate 3.5-acre portion of the parking lot at its main administrative headquarters for the development of up to 250 units of affordable housing. Included in this project is a 15,000 square foot community facility which would provide community services, such as childcare, a teaching kitchen, or other services that benefit persons of low- or moderate-incomes. The grant funds would assist with the construction of this community facility.


Project: Community Climate Change Impact Analysis
Recipient: Prince William County Government
Amount: $950,000

Background: This project will prepare Prince William County for future impacts due to climate change. The first part will be to develop a plan to reduce carbon emissions, increase use of renewable energy, and provide sustainability resources within the community to address the harmful impacts of climate change. The analysis will be used to develop long term plans to meet goals set by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Prince William Board of County Supervisor for reducing carbon and increasing the use of renewable energy. The second part will address increased flooding potential in the community. A study will be conducted to identify high risk flood areas based on historic, current, and projected storm/rainfall trends, with recommendations for mitigation and adaptation strategies. A review and incorporation of increases in intense rain events due to climate change will be included in the study. Many of the areas in high-risk flood areas are in lower income and minority communities. This study will also address and include issues of environmental and social justice, and the equity of programs to reduce flood risk in the community.

Project: Rehabilitation/Capital Upgrades of Old Town Hall at 3999 University Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22030
Recipient: City of Fairfax Government
Amount: $2,100,000

Background: This request is for rehabilitation and capital upgrades to Old Town Hall, a facility owned by the City of Fairfax. Old Town Hall is the premier public facility in the City of Fairfax and has served as the cultural and social center of the City of Fairfax community for 121 years. This requested funding will be used to rehabilitate Old Town Hall. After one of the front façade columns collapsed into the street in August 2020 resulting in the closure of the building, the City conducted a comprehensive examination of the structure. This project would help reopen Old Town Hall to the public through ADA-accessibility, safety, and sustainability upgrades that meet twenty-first century federal standards. When completed, this rehabilitation project will ensure safe and equitable access for the population of the City of Fairfax and the surrounding community.

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