Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
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Neighborhoods department, councilman at odds over shelter funding

Competing proposals that aim to restore some funds set to be cut for several emergency shelters and transitional housing programs could soon be before Toledo City Council.

Two ordinances were put forth Wednesday afternoon, after a two-hour neighborhoods committee hearing, attended by dozens of shelter and transitional housing agency leaders and families in need of those services.

The city’s Department of Neighborhoods recommended in April cutting all federal Community Development Block funds to five shelters and transitional housing agencies — the Aurora Project, Beach House, Bethany House, La Posada, and Family House. The funds have been a source of tens of thousands of dollars for those service providers.

One proposal, put forth by Councilman D. Michael Collins would cut CDBG funds by 10 percent to other agencies in order to restore money to the shelters.

“This is a one-time fix, but it gives these organizations and the city of Toledo a year to come up with a better way of addressing HUD’s changing priorities and the Department of Neighborhoods policies,” Mr. Collins said.

His plan would not use revenue from the general fund. However, other agencies that receive CDBG funds, such as United North, a North Toledo community development organization, the Uptown Association, Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity and others would be affected by reduced funding.

Another proposal, by Council President Joe McNamara, would take $103,797 from the general fund to help the five agencies restore half of the funding that was lost, without taking CDGB funds proposed for other agencies.

Mr. McNamara said council can’t propose taking funds from other agencies without offering those groups a hearing similar to what the shelters had Wednesday.

All of the proposals would next go before city council for a vote, but it’s unclear when that will happen. They could be on council’s next meeting agenda Tuesday.

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