$3,000,000 requested by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) to address serious traffic congestion and expand mental health services in Lakewood cleared a major hurdle in Congress this week as the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance legislation funding projects for the upcoming fiscal year to the House Floor.
The federal dollars championed by Smith include $2 million for the construction of two roads in the densely populated town as well as associated improvements, such as street lighting, sanitary sewer mains, drinking water mains and stormwater management infrastructure.
“Lakewood is one of the fastest growing cities in America and a growing economic engine for Ocean County, and there is an urgent need to lessen congestion on narrow streets that were designed and built in many cases over 100 years ago,” said Smith.
“This federal support will help create a thoroughfare that drivers can use to overt excessively congested local roadways to get to Interstate 195, the Garden State Parkway and other highways,” Smith said.
Smith’s requested funds also include a separate $1 million for a new 5,000-square-foot mental health facility to expand outpatient mental health services provided by Lakewood Community Services Corporation (LCSC), including individual and family Psychotherapy, group therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.
“The rise in mental health issues across the country combined with the town’s surging population and the alarming surge in anti-Semitic attacks targeting the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood have drastically increased the need for counseling and mental health assistance beyond the capacity of existing resources,” said Smith. “These federal dollars will go a long way toward ensuring that those who seek care can get access to mental health services and receive the support they need.”
Just last year, LCSC provided over 26,174 units of service, including telehealth, to over 1,500 unique patients—86 percent of whom were Medicaid insured or uninsured.
Passed by the House Appropriations Committee, the two appropriations bills containing the projects now await consideration by the full House of Representatives.