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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Published: Monday, 3/24/2014 - Updated: 6 months ago

Neighborhoods Dept. wins in fund proposals

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Renee' Palacio and Tom Hopkins of Family House. Renee' Palacio and Tom Hopkins of Family House.
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The troubled agency that oversees homeless shelters in Lucas County would get more federal funding than it asked for under recommendations from city of Toledo-appointed committees, while many of the shelters would get less.

Two separate Community Review Committees — made up of local leaders and residents who were selected through the city’s neighborhoods department — last week handed over recommendations for Emergency Solutions Grant and Community Development Block Grant funding, leaving some shelter operators concerned.

“I have confidence that the new administration will not accept these recommendations that propose further cuts to shelters,” said Renee Palacios, director of Family House, a family shelter with 103 beds at 669 Indiana Ave.

DOWNLOAD/VIEW: Where the money goes

The Collins administration last week got good news when it learned the city would receive $569,389 from the federal ESG — money specifically meant for homeless shelters and homeless people. That amount is up 14.12 percent from the $498,959 received last year.

At the same time, Toledo got an expected reduction in CDBG funding — which can be used for homeless shelters but is also allocated to many different community agencies for other purposes. The city will receive nearly $6.9 million for the upcoming federal funding grant year that runs from July 1 through June 30, 2015. That is a 1.71 percent reduction from the 2013-14 funding.

For 2013-14, Family House was awarded $94,170 from the ESG. This year it asked for $213,251 but the committee recommended it get $94,555 from ESG. The shelter’s CDBG award for 2013-14 was $64,166 but it only asked for $13,430. Instead, the committee recommended it get $56,466 from the CDBG.

ESG funds are available for five program components: street outreach, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing assistance, and data collection through the Homeless Management Information System.

The Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board, which oversees the federally funded shelters, was given $70,422 from ESG in 2013-14 and asked for $82,422 this funding cycle. The ESG committee recommended $91,195 for the homelessness board.

The homelessness board also got $72,958 last year for “direct financial assistance,” which is given to people in danger of becoming homeless. It asked for $75,000 but is recommended to get $76,678 this year.

The homelessness board last month missed a self-appointed deadline to repay the city of Toledo $98,000. Officials with the county board said in November that the money could not be found and they wanted forgiveness for the debt. They later said the money turned up and would be handed over to the city by Feb. 15. Tom Bonnington, the homelessness board’s executive director, told Toledo City Council’s neighborhoods committee last week that the money had been repaid.

St. Paul’s Community Center, a shelter near downtown for men with mental illness, received $20,500 last year from ESG and requested an increase to $68,000 this year. The ESG committee recommended it receive $22,470.

Its CDBG funding last year was $43,942 and it is now asking for $66,000 but the CDBG board recommended $40,000.

Catholic Charities, which runs the homeless shelter La Posada, was awarded $21,013 in ESG money last year and is now asking for $38,500. It was recommended to get $21,103. It did not request CDBG money this year while last year it was given $10,611.

The YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter is seeking a slight increase in ESG from $22,289 last year to $25,000 this year. The ESG committee recommended $22,413.

Toledo Neighborhoods Director Tom Kroma said the recommendations would be discussed with Mayor D. Michael Collins before they are presented to Toledo City Council for approval.

“The funding recommendation process is always difficult,” Mr. Kroma said. “The amount of the requests for the quality programs always exceed the money available.”

Toledo Councilman Jack Ford has said he would support using the city’s general fund money to supplement homeless shelters. Mayor Collins said he does not support that idea.

All Toledo organizations seeking federal funding were reviewed, not solely homeless shelters.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.


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