Each year, my colleagues and I highlight the progress we have made throughout the county in the areas of public safety, infrastructure, health care, social services, business development and other key indicators that contribute to healthy and thriving communities.
Since the pandemic is ongoing, we have continued to provide essential aid to those in need here in Camden County. In January, we launched its third round of support for renters at risk of losing their homes or facing an eviction threat due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, we surpassed $31 million in rental assistance which has kept more than 4,000 applicants in their homes.
To further support our residents, we launched a $5 million program to offer relief for those employed in the direct personal care of the elderly, children and/or adults with disabilities whose wages have been impacted by the pandemic. Our hope was that these funds provided some relief and support for those working these incredibly important and difficult jobs.
As we have continued fighting the COVID-19, we have also made strides in combating another public health crisis- the opioid epidemic. In October, we unveiled a new program that will install Naloxboxes in every school across Camden County. We felt it was necessary to equip every institution in the county with this lifesaving medication so they can respond to an opioid overdose on school property as well as to educate students and staff about opioids.
This year has also been full of advancements when it comes to our county roadway infrastructure. In November, it was announced that we had secured $36 million in grant funds to rebuild the Port of Camden and its adjacent neighborhood Waterfront South. This project will provide significant economic opportunities for the city, state and region while improving the safety, public health and quality of life for Camden residents who live in the vicinity. The county also completed $7 million worth of construction projects with an additional $25 million worth of projects currently in the works.
We also made the largest investment into the county’s public parks system since the Roosevelt Administration with our Parks Alive 2025. Altogether, this initiative is a $100 million investment and will allow residents and visitors from all walks of life to enjoy our outdoor spaces.
We are extremely proud of the progress the Camden County Police Department has made over the course of the year. Most notably, the department swore in the first Latina and woman to ever hold the rank of deputy chief in the history of law enforcement in Camden City. The Camden City, born and bred, police officer, Janell Simpson, has over 20 years of law enforcement experience and was sworn in as Deputy Chief on July 15. In addition, both shootings and violent crime were both reduced in 2022.
As we head into 2023, we will continue to improve and enhance our region and stay focused on ensuring Camden County remains a special and affordable place to live.
Best wishes for the New Year,
Commissioner Director Louis Cappelli, Jr.