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 Thursday.
“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.”
On Wednesday, Executive Director Marcia Langenderfer announced that because of a 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.
Several Toledo area residents also came forward on Thursday and pledged to make a donation to the shelter program, said John Irwin, the organization’s finance director.
“People have really come forward,” he said. No money actually has been officially donated though, he added.
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., called Thursday’s grant award an investment in the community.
“Many of the homeless people in our community have jobs,” Mr. Weber said in a news release issued Thursday. “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.”
The “winter crisis” program provides overnight shelter for up to 50 people on a first-come, first-served basis. The center has a donation portal on its Web site, stpaulscommunitycenter.org.