The Division of Public Health is changing its Distressed Cemetery Fund guidelines to encourage cemetery owners, managers or caretakers with minimal resources to apply for funds by making the application process more attractive and efficient.

The goal is to assist those that have shown an ongoing commitment to repairing cemeteries by increasing the maximum award amount, decreasing the match requirement, and reducing the waiting period between applications.

The fund, which is overseen by the Delaware Cemetery Board, is maintained through the receipt of a $2 portion of the cost of each death certificate issued and cemetery registration fees received. Individuals and organizations may also make contributions or bequests to the fund.

The registration fee for a cemetery is $10 every five years or until change in ownership occurs. Volunteers can register an abandoned cemetery. A registration form can be accessed from the DPH website at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hp/DECB.html.

Previously, the guidelines allowed for a maximum award of $10,000 every two years from the date the previous award was received and required a 100 percent match in dollars and/or documented volunteer hours. The board has increased the maximum award amount to $15,000 and reduced the waiting period to every 18 months from the date the previous award was received. The match requirement has been eased from 100 percent to 50 percent of the requested amount in real dollars and/or documented volunteer hours.

Prior applicants who received an award under the old guidelines may apply 18 months from the date their last award was received.

Cemeteries must be registered before they can apply for Distressed Cemetery Funds. An application package must be submitted two weeks before a scheduled board meeting. The next Delaware Cemetery Board meeting will be held at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 9 in the Delaware Room at the Delaware Public Archives, 121 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. North, Dover.

Applications must be submitted by July 24 to the chief administrative officer, Delaware Cemetery Board, Health Statistics Center, Jesse Cooper Building, 417 Federal St., Dover.

The application package must include photos of the area needing repairs, financial information, a small scale map and three written vendor quotes. The board’s chief administrative officer will review for completeness and send onto the board for review. The board will meet with the applicant during an executive session and will vote on the application during the public meeting. A written closeout report is required six months after the receipt of the award and must include a report on how the funds were used, pictures of the work completed, copy of canceled checks to the vendor and vendor invoices paid.

For information, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hp/DECB.html and delcode.delaware.gov/title29/c079a/index.shtml.