Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016
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Politics

Toledo neighborhoods funding awards up about $169,000

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell announced today that the city's federal funding awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are surprisingly up over last year.

The city's department of neighborhoods estimated receiving slightly more than $6.8 million in Community Development Block Grant funding beginning July 1, 2013 but Toledo will actually receive $7,008,842 - an increase of $169,378.

At the same time, Toledo was expected to receive $579,850 in Emergency Solutions Grant funds but only $498,959 was allocated.

Before the formal allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city had to estimate the funds it would receive in CDBG, HOME funds and ESG funds in order to submit planning documents to show how the money will be spent.

For the second year in a row, proposed decreases to Toledo homeless shelters set off an avalanche of complaints from the shelters and councilmen who decried being cut out of the process. The mayor said councilmen were invited to attend and observe the process, including more than 16 meetings and forums held over five months across the city, but many on council still said the process was not transparent.

Earlier this month, Mayor Bell cut council out of the final piece of the decision-making process on allocating the CDBG and ESG funding. Instead of waiting for a council vote of approval or allowing revisions, he sent the city’s “one-year action” plan to the federal government.

Council subsequently passed its own plan that restored funding to three shelters — Aurora House,1035 North Superior St.; LaPosada, 435 Eastern Ave., and Family House, 669 Indiana Ave. — and also for a low-income senior housing project in North Toledo. Mayor Bell used his veto power on May 22 to wipe away those changes, but last week his administration said it would ask council to approve taking $100,800 out of the city’s general fund to help bail out the shelters.

On Tuesday, three Toledo homeless shelters that had expected a financial lifeline were back to holding their breath after city council failed to overturn a line-item veto regarding federal money from Mayor Bell. Council also postponed a compromise on using general fund money to help fund their operations.

Mr. Bell now says the city no longer needs to use that $108,000 from the general fund for the shelters because of the increase in CDBG funding.

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