Welcome to The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Camden Strong Facade Improvement Program! This program aims to enhance the visual appeal and overall quality of businesses within the Camden area. As a business owner, participating in this program can provide you with resources and assistance to improve the exterior appearance of your establishment. Remember to carefully read and follow all instructions provided in the application and any accompanying guidelines or materials. Good luck with your application, and we hope the ARP Camden Strong Facade Program helps enhance the visual appeal of your business!


Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society (SJCS) is partnering with the City of Camden to implement The American Rescue Plan Camden Strong Facade Improvement Program. This program is an effort to improve the economic growth in areas throughout the City of Camden through façade improvements to businesses. This program offers assistance where up to $50,000 will be provided to businesses for exterior improvements in the form of a grant with a conditional mortgage placed on the property that receives services.

The program covers the following exterior improvements:

  • Restoring or increasing the percentage or amount of transparent glass on a storefront. 70-80% transparency is ideal.
  • Replacing dark tinted or textured glass with clear glass, when possible, to increase visibility into the business.
  • Restoration of original window openings if previously sealed off.
  • Aligning window heights and unifying window sizes when appropriate.
  • “Restoring or maintaining the historic pattern consistent with the surrounding buildings such as frames, special glazing, and decorative moldings.”
  • Colors used for painting the window frames and sashes should be consistent with the overall theme of the corridor.
  • Other requests may also be considered for the windows.
  • The use of high quality and durable materials with minimal maintenance requirements such as brick, stone, wood, or cement boards.
  • “Well-established characteristics for a corridor should be maintained through colors, window frames, security elements or appearances.”
  • Existing architectural details on a building’s façade should be maintained and restored.
  • Where appropriate, storefronts should distinguish from upper floors with larger display windows, enhanced lighting, and moldings.
  • Other requests may also be considered for the storefront.
  • Implement improvements for standard handicap accessibility.
    Handicap ramp designs which use matching existing architectural character of the overall design of the façade.
  • Building entrances should be orientated so primary pedestrians access points are towards main street. Parking entrances, exits and drop-offs areas should be accessed from side streets or near the building when possible.
  • Entranceways recessing from the storefront to ensure customers are shielded from the weather upon entering or leaving.
  • Entranceways composed primary of clear, transparent glass are advised for all businesses.
  • Other requests may also be considered for entranceways/ADA access.
  • Awnings and overhangs should be self- supporting, without the need for poles, posts, or columns within the street right-of-way.
  • Awnings or overhangs should be securely attached to the building and should be 8-12 feet above the sidewalk.
  • Installing retractable or fixed type awnings.
    Illuminating storefronts and sidewalks from beneath an awning. Awnings should be composed of weather resistance materials and should complement the overall theme of the corridor.
  • Overhangs should incorporate materials, colors and details that match the overall theme of the corridor.
  • Other requests may also be considered for awnings/overhangs.
  • Signs which complement the architectural features and characters of the building.
  • Signs that use consistent and legible fonts, colors, and icons or logos.
  • Lettering should consist of less than 75% of the total surface area of the sign and be between 8-18 inches in height.
  • Blade signs that project off the façade and sit high enough on the building to allow for pedestrian clearance, generally 10-15 feet above sidewalk.
  • Signs should be at least 1 inch thick if mounted directly to the surface of the building.
  • Wall signs shall project no more than 10 inches from the façade that it is mounted on.
  • Use of colors that fit with the cultural styles of the community, still according to good graphic design practice.
  • Illuminating signs from above or below to create a brighter corridor.
  • Other requests may also be considered for signage.
  • The use of indirect lighting to highlight window displays, signs, doorways, and buildings architectural details.
  • Exterior light fixtures that complement the character of the façade.
  • The use of lights that keep the storefront well-lit after business hours.
  • If otherwise unoccupied, upper-floor windows should be lit even after business hours.
  • Use of a timer to turn lighting fixtures on at dusk or off at dawn.
  • Lights composed of soft and warm colors.
  • LED lighting should be producing soft white lighting no greater than 2,300 lumens.
  • Other requests may also be considered for lighting.
  • Removal of damaged exterior roll-down grates.
  • Use open grilles that allow lighting from display windows to be seen at night.
  • Grilles should be at least 70% transparent.
  • Fences that are black in color.
  • “Installing an electronic alarm system that automatically notifies the police and the business owner.”
  • Replacing old single pane store front windows with clear laminated safety glass.
  • Other requests may also be considered for security.
  • Maintain or restore architectural details around upper floor windows.
  • Preserve and restore historical features.
  • Repair upper façade with materials that are the same as or complements the existing construction.
  • Use of appropriate colors and lighting to highlight the architectural design of the building.
  • Cornice line heights for new or remodeled buildings should match the same line heights as adjacent buildings.
  • Other requests may also be considered for building caps/ cornices.
  • Fencing installment or repairs.
  • Sidewalk repairs or installment.
  • Parking lot improvements if lot is attached to the building.
  • Other requests may also be considered for improvements.


The open enrollment period for this application will be open as of 10/10/2023 and will continue as a rolling basis as long as funds are available. Paper applications can be obtained by visiting SJCS office on 20 Church St. Camden, NJ 08105 or by printing the application online from our website by visiting https://www.ci.camden.nj.us/arp-program/. Applicants must either submit the completed application online or return the completed paper application in a sealed envelope to SJCS office. Only one application per business is eligible. If a building has multiple businesses, each business can submit an application however, a single scope of work has to be agreed upon by the various businesses and property owner.

All applications received will be reviewed for completeness and accuracy. A first review of the application will determine if an application is eligible by checking to see if all documents are correctly provided. After the initial eligibility screening applicants will be selected to receive services based on provided documents. Applicants who provide all the required documentations will be chosen to move on to participate in the façade program, preference will be provided to UEZ members.

Selected applicants will be asked to schedule an initial inspection meeting with SJCS staff where the building in the application is inspected, and the scope of work is developed. The scope of work is shared with the property and/or business owner to get their sign-off. Once approved, SJCS will bid the project to prequalified contractors and select the lowest responsible and qualified contractor. Contractors must be prequalified with SJCS in order to submit a bid due to local and state procurement requirements.

Once the bid has been selected, the property owner and/or business owner is required to attend a settlement meeting where the selected contractor and owner(s) meet one another, and contact information is shared. The applicant will be required to sign the mortgage in the amount of the City grant provided to the business and will be recorded after work is completed. The construction schedule for the scope of work will be discussed.
SJCS will monitor the progression of the work through site visits, progress reports, and photos. Once work is completed, final inspections will take place as well as contractor updates of completion to SJCS and property/business owner. SJCS will be responsible for making payments to contractors at the end.
After completion of work, SJCS will conduct a final inspection of the property to ensure the work has been completed according to the approved application. Final paperwork will be signed by property/business owner acknowledging completion of work. A final report will be made to ensure proper payments and file closeout. The mortgage will be recorded at this time and the applicant will receive a copy of the mortgage.


“Businesses who are interested in participating in the program must apply either online or through paper application by going to “APPLY NOW”. Participants can view the full instructions on how to complete and submit an application in the same “APPLY NOW” section. The open application period will be open beginning 10/23/2023 and will remain open as long as funds are available.

For additional resources please visit the “HELPFUL RESOURCES” section.
Also visit our “FAQ’s” for frequently asked questions to find helpful information covering the program.

Any questions or concerns, you can reach out to Ruben Peres, SJCS.
Email: rperes@sjcscamden.org
Phone: (856) 966-8117″