St. Paul’s Community Center will be able to continue operating its emergency shelter program for Toledo’s homeless through February, thanks to a last minute, $13,000 grant from the Lucas County Economic Development Corp.
The grant award, which was requested by the Lucas County Commissioners, was announced today.
“Citizens who are unhoused need shelter particularly in the winter months,” Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that the LCEDC has stepped up to make sure our citizens have these resources.”
Executive Director Marcia Langenderfer, on Wednesday, announced that due to lack of funding, the center’s “winter crisis” shelter program would have to be discontinued on Sunday – potentially leaving hundreds of homeless people in the Toledo area without a place to sleep at night for the remainder of the winter.
In past years, the overnight shelter program received a total of $39,000 from the Lucas County Mental Health & Recovery Services Board, United Way of Greater Toledo, and the Toledo Community Foundation, in addition to other donations from individuals, churches, and businesses, allowing it to operate from mid-December until mid-March, Ms. Langenderfer said.
Overall funding from the social services agencies for this year was reduced by $15,000, Mr. Langenderfer said.
Ford Weber, president of the Lucas County Economic Development Corp., said the grant awarded today is an investment in the community.
“Many of the homeless people in our community have jobs," Mr. Weber said in a news release. "What they don’t have is permanent housing.
"This funding reflects the fact that without housing, these people will invariably lose their jobs and all of us – including the businesses that employ them -- will suffer as a result.”
More than 900 people stayed overnight at the shelter on 13th Street in the month of January, far outpacing previous winter demands, Ms. Langenderfer said. February’s numbers also appear to be higher than normal, she said.