ALLENTOWN – Thanks to the bi-partisan, bi-cameral efforts of Senators Pat Browne (R-16) and Lisa Boscola (D-18) and Representatives Peter Schweyer (D-22) and Mike Schlossberg (D-132), the Allentown Bureau of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the Casa Guadalupe Center will receive a combined $254,000 in state grants.
The four legislators secured the funding through the Local Share Agreement (LSA) established in the Pennsylvania Gaming Act for Lehigh and Northampton Counties from revenue generated at the Wind Creek Bethlehem Casino (formerly Sands Bethlehem Casino) and administered by Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).
The announcement came today (May 14) following the meeting of the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA), which administers the gaming funding.
Allentown EMS was awarded $141,000 for the purchase of a new Ambulance, which will replace a currently out-of-service emergency vehicle. The ambulance will be equipped with state–of-the-art safety technology, including airbags in the patient compartment, a patented HOPS restraint system for the paramedics and a 360-degree camera.
“The City of Allentown has been devastated by the COVID-19 crisis, both medically and financially,” Eric Gratz, Allentown EMS Chief of Operations, said. “During these difficult times, our residents have relied on Emergency Medical Services more than ever. The funding secured for this new ambulance will help ensure our paramedics can respond in the safest and most reliable manner to continue to serve the public. This support from our local legislators means more to us than all the “Thank Yous” in the world!”
Funding comes as already-strained EMS budgets across the Commonwealth are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, causing fiscal uncertainty for local stations as they seek to replace aging equipment. These funds serve as the last dollars necessary for the vehicle’s purchase.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a spotlight on these heroes who work tirelessly every day to help our family, friends and neighbors when they need it the most,” Senator Browne said. “Both Allentown EMS and Casa Guadalupe provide invaluable services to the community, especially during crises like the one we are currently facing. I am pleased that our local legislative delegation’s strong bi-partisan working relationship allows us to collaborate on securing funding to support their efforts.”
“The local share account program was created with regionalization in mind,” Senator Boscola said. “Working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure important community projects receive critical funding through the local share account is another example of promoting regionalization.”
The Casa Guadalupe Center was awarded $113,000 for desperately-needed repairs to their Second Street Allentown center. Funds will be utilized to replace the center’s roof, exterior walk and parking lot.
“The Casa Guadalupe Center on 2nd Street in Allentown, provides crucial services to about 3000 individuals a month in the areas if health, education, WIC, social services and education,” said Lucy Delavar, Casa Guadalupe Center’s Executive Director. “Casa has proudly served this community for over 50 years and we want to thank Senator Browne, Senator Boscola, Rep. Schweyer and Rep. Schlossberg for helping us obtain this grant so that we can continue our mission.”
The community services that the Casa Guadalupe Center provides have become ever more critical during the COVID-19 crisis, as they work with children, youth, adults, and elderly residents to promote their health and well-being
“Allentown has been one of the hardest hit areas, with more COVID 19 cases per capita than anywhere else in the Lehigh Valley,” Representative Schweyer said. “This funding will allow our first responders and community partners to continue doing the vital work necessary to serve our most vulnerable populations. I am proud to have worked with this delegation to secure this funding.”
“I am really glad to see these funds coming to support important services in Allentown,” Representative Schlossberg said. “Casa Guadalupe has a fantastic history of serving families in Allentown and our EMS first responders need every resource we get put in their hands. As always, it is a pleasure working with Rep. Schweyer, Senators Browne and Boscola to support these efforts.”
Allentown’s EMS provides the City of Allentown with 24/7 coverage and responds to nearly 16,000 emergency calls annually. Their fleet includes eight Advanced Life Support equipped ambulances. This grant enables the replacement of a 2005 ambulance, which is showing the effects of a long career.
The Casa Guadalupe Center is a non-profit, community-based organization established in 1969 to meet the needs of Lehigh Valley residents. They offer services for children, youth, adults and elderly residents in the areas of health, education, and social services. Casa Guadalupe works in partnership with other organizations in the community to promote economic empowerment, social mobility, and civic participation.
The CFA was established as an independent agency of the Commonwealth to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. The CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments in Pennsylvania’s economic growth.
Matt Szuchyt (Sen.Browne)- 610-360-8426, Mszuchyt@pasen.gov
Kurt Durr (Sen. Boscola)- 610-868-8667, Kderr@pasenate.com
Nancy Wilt (Rep. Schweyer)- 610-791-6270, NWilt@pahouse.net
Geoff Brace (Rep. Schlossberg)- 610-821-5577, Gbrace@pahouse.net