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Appropriations Subcommittees Include $11 Million for Projects Rep. Cartwright Requested to Promote Public Safety, Economic and Social Recovery in NEPA as Part of Newly Approved FY22 Appropriations Bills

Overall, the FY22 Appropriations Bills Have Total of $16.6 Million for Nine Projects in NEPA; The Bills Are Expected to Reach House Floor Later this Month

Eighth Congressional District, PA – U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today announced that two Appropriations bills approved by their respective subcommittees yesterday include $11.1 million in funding he requested for six projects in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

In the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) fiscal year 2022 funding bill, which Rep. Cartwright authors as the subcommittee chair, he included:

  • $2.1 million for law enforcement technology upgrades in the City of Wilkes-Barre$2 million to combat gun and gang violence in Lackawanna County

“Public safety is a cornerstone of a healthy community. That’s why I’m proud to advocate for new resources and tools for Northeastern Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies to combat crime while improving accountability,” said Rep. Cartwright.


City of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania's Community Policing Technology and Equipment Initiative
Recipient: City of Wilkes-Barre
Project Description: This funding is for the City of Wilkes-Barre’s Police Department, which is looking to improve its community policing efforts by purchasing new tasers and dash cameras that are synced with the police officers’ body cameras and begin recording automatically when the tasers are drawn from their holsters or the police vehicle sirens are activated. They also plan to purchase the ShotSpotter Respond system, the leading gunshot detection, location and forensic system. This new technology and equipment will provide police officers and the general public with video accounts of the police encounters and increase transparency and accountability with all interactions. Additionally, the recordings enhance police officer safety, reduce the liability of police departments, provide video evidence to improve conviction rates, and can be used for the training of police officers.

“This funding will help our law enforcement agencies obtain new technologies and communications systems to assist in investigating, responding to and preventing crime,” said Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown. “These new tools would not only help us protect our community, they will also improve officer training while increasing transparency and accountability. We are grateful for Congressman Cartwright’s support for our community policing efforts in the City of Wilkes-Barre.”

Lackawanna County Gun and Gang Reduction and Intelligence Project (GGRIP)
Recipient: Lackawanna County Government
Project Description: This funding is for the Lackawanna County Government, which proposes the development of a targeted and multifaceted approach to aggressively combating violent drug, gang and gun violence within Lackawanna County. The project will allow for the hiring of additional law enforcement and legal staff to expand existing efforts, effectively focus these labors to increase efficiency and collaboration in and among various partner agencies, and ensure these efforts result in successful prosecution of cases. The funding will allow for the purchase of the resources and technology needed to achieve these goals, while ensuring the security of local law enforcement as they put themselves at risk to increase the safety of their local community. The proposed project will also work to raise community awareness of these issues, decrease negative perceptions of law enforcement, and increase community engagement through educational efforts and participation in public events by law enforcement personnel throughout the community.

“Street gangs using illegal weapons and trafficking drugs pose a grave and imminent threat to the safety of Lackawanna County. These gangs have become increasingly sophisticated, and our law enforcement agencies are in dire need of federal assistance to stay one step ahead of them, investigate and interrupt their networks, and put these bad actors behind bars,” said Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell. “We are at war, and our law enforcement officers and prosecutors are on the front lines of that war. The additional federal resources made possible by the work of Congressman Matt Cartwright and provided by this grant will help us turn the tide and win that war.”

The Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies fiscal year 2022 bill includes funding for the following projects for which Rep. Cartwright is advocating:

  • $1.85 million for mental health and substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation across Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • $1.15 million to combat food insecurity in Hazleton
  • $2 million to build a substance abuse rehabilitation-to-workforce regional facility in Honesdale
  • $2 million for a technical and vocational education center in Scranton

“I commend our community leaders for developing promising initiatives to address mental health and addiction, hunger and 21st century job training,” said Rep. Cartwright. “These investments in the Labor-HHS funding bill for Northeastern Pennsylvania will support our area’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic.”


YMCA Mental Health & Substance Abuse Support Services
Recipient: The Greater Scranton YMCA

Project Description: This funding is for local YMCAs to contract with at least one mental health/substance abuse organization in their community to provide services at their facilities. The funding will also support the hiring of specialized staff to offer added therapy services, focusing on the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders and drug use, and tobacco and alcohol use among children. Although open to all, the Ys will target low-income community members who may not have access to services, or who may desire alternative service options. Research shows preventative services can reduce hospitalization rates and medical expenses, leading to savings for taxpayers. Through leasing vehicles, the Ys will provide services to community members who cannot access a Y.

“On behalf of the YMCAs included in this collaborative, which represent communities from across the Northeastern Pennsylvania region, we are pleased to provide mental health and substance abuse services to children, adults and families in need,” said Trish Fisher, President & CEO, Greater Scranton YMCA. “We understand mental health and the risk for substance abuse are directly affected by a lack of resources and increased isolation. By working together to offer services to community members of all ages, we will make a profound and lasting impact on the mental health and substance abuse crisis we are facing.”

Eradicating Food Insecurity in the Hazleton Area
Recipient: The Hazleton Integration Project
Project Description: With this funding, the Hazleton Integration Project (HIP) would utilize a STEAM-based education model to eradicate food insecurity in the Greater Hazleton Area. Age specific STEAM labs will maximize innovative approaches to problem solving and serve as centerpieces to drive and sustain this effort for years to come. Student-led committees will research root causes of food insecurity and drive solutions by incorporating community gardening, logistics, marketing, communication, legislation and the food supply chain. Additional emphasis will focus on the impact of food insecurity and poverty on mental health. Hundreds of our area’s economically disadvantaged high schoolers will be mentored throughout by university students. The project strives to embolden and equip our youth with tools to face the challenges of an increasingly complex, technologically driven world. The initiative has received 11 endorsements from elected officials, business groups social service organizations and universities.

“Supported by federal funding advocated for by Congressman Matt Cartwright, the Eradicating Food Insecurity Project will utilize a STEAM education model to equip students with the tools to engage with both modern and historical challenges,” said Bob Curry, co-founder of the Hazleton Integration Project. “Student-led committees will research root causes of real-world issues and drive solutions using a variety of STEM and business disciplines. The initiative, which has received 11 endorsements from local leaders, organizations and universities, will consist of age-specific STEM labs and mentorship programs with the goal of eradicating food insecurity in the Greater Hazleton Area.”

Recovery To Work Initiative
Recipient: Wayne County Government
Project Description: This project creates a regional hub for treatment and rehabilitation for individuals struggling with addiction and behavioral health challenges. This property provides a unique opportunity to develop a best-practice recovery-to-work model for treatment and rehabilitation that integrates both drug and alcohol and behavioral health facilities with housing, career training and job placement. Supporting the recovering individual through a longer, stepped-down approach along with access to human services, housing, career development and jobs will mitigate risk factors and address social determinants that affect recidivism and successful outcomes. This project would help to pay for construction of four buildings that would be used in a multitude of capacities to address much-needed drug recovery, mental health and work training initiatives in Wayne County and the surrounding region where such facilities are non-existent or few and far between. The county has already set aside more than $3 million in funding for this project, but the total cost is nearly $10 million. The construction cost alone is $7.8 million so to be able to receive $3 million toward this would be a huge achievement. This initiative would save taxpayers money in the long run as it would offer treatment to people with substance abuse disorders and those with behavioral health issues and would offer job training to former inmates to keep recidivism low and prison and unemployment costs low. Keeping people who need help out of hospitals and prison would be a huge help to already strained federal and state budgets.

“We appreciate Congressman Cartwright for recognizing the value in this much-needed ‘Recovery To Work’ model. It’s a regional approach to revitalizing the workforce and creating opportunities for citizens to become productive members of our labor force. In addition, this project will offer help for those hoping to turn the page after battling the opioid epidemic,” said Wayne County Commissioners Brian Smith, Joseph Adams and Jocelyn Cramer. “This public/private partnership is complementary to the SCI-Waymart campus and will meet the increasing demands of multiple agencies. It will benefit not only Wayne, but counties from throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and we appreciate the many local, state and federal partners that have viewed this endeavor as vital and supported it.”

Lackawanna College Center for Technology Innovation
Recipient: Lackawanna College
Project Description: This project establishes the Lackawanna College Center for Technology Innovation (LCCTI). This project will serve as a technical and vocational education center for Northeastern Pennsylvania. Programs at the LCCTI will include a college-level student program, high school program, and a training site for STEM, industrial technologies, and trades employers for continuing education students. The Center will feature five laboratories to train students for careers in Gas & Electric Vehicle Technology, Smart Design Building Systems, Robotics & Automation, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (AR/VR) multimedia and Cybersecurity & Information Technology. The Center will host a variety of affordable, short-term training, stackable certificate, and degree programs for traditionally-aged and continuing education students, as well as Tech-Up, a program that will provide high-priority occupation training opportunities to high school students, enabling them to earn academic credit and complete an Associate Degree or industry certification. By offering industry-aligned curriculums in coordination with employers, the LCCTI will be an education-driven workforce development solution for Pennsylvania's 8th District and the Commonwealth. The project will support social and economic development in the 8th District by accelerating Scranton's post-pandemic economic recovery, increasing downtown commerce, and contributing to the revitalization of Scranton's Providence Section. Aligned with Lackawanna College's signature low prices, LCCTI training programs will be affordable and accessible to economically and educationally disadvantaged persons. The project is an investment in the future of Pennsylvania's workforce education strategy and aligns with U.S. and local development goals.

“The Center for Technology Innovation at Lackawanna College will serve as a workforce development engine that educates high school students, postsecondary students and trade professionals through industry-modeled training. This career and high-tech education facility will address industry shortages of qualified workers by providing affordable opportunities for workforce and academic skill building. The Center will offer stackable education and training in multiple priority sectors, including robotics, smart energy & building systems, data analytics, cyber security and other high-tech jobs of the future,” said Dr. Jill A. Murray, Ph.D., President and Chief Innovation Officer, Lackawanna College.

The Commerce-Justice-Science and the Labor-Health and Human Services bills were approved by their respective subcommittees on July 12 and will be reviewed by the full committee on Thursday, July 15.

Last month, Rep. Cartwright announced that he secured funding for the following three projects in pending appropriations bills:

  • $1 million for a business development hub in Wilkes-Barre through the fiscal year 2022 Financial Services and General Government funding bill
  • $3.5 million for stormwater infrastructure improvements in the Wyoming Valley through the fiscal year 2022 Interior and Environment funding bill
  • $1 million for a new emergency services facility in Monroe County through the fiscal year 2022 Homeland Security funding bill

Rep. Cartwright will continue to fight for this funding as these bills move to through the full Appropriations Committee, consideration on the House Floor and negotiations with the Senate.