Latest plan by Bell administration would shift federal money to aid homelessness

6/5/2013
BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Palacios
Palacios

The Bell administration offered another plan Tuesday to shift more federal money to three homeless shelters using the city’s 2013 Community Development Block Grant allocation, which Mayor Mike Bell announced last week will be higher than it was last year.

But the directors of two homeless facilities — Renee Palacios of Family House, a family shelter in central Toledo, and Denise Fox of Aurora House, a shelter for homeless women and their children in North Toledo — said the amounts proposed Tuesday were below their shares of federal money last year.

“Our CDBG for the last 25 years was $82,000 and last year it was about $64,000,” Mr. Palacios said. The shelter last year also got $168,252 in an Emergency Solutions Grant for a total of $232,419.

That shelter for this year requested $183,094 in emergency grant funds money and nothing in block grant funds. It was recommended to get $153,110 in ESG and zero in CDBG by the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board and the Bell administration in its plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Ms. Palacios said emergency shelters such as Family House were told by the homelessness board that they were not allowed to apply for CDBG funding and that transitional housing facilities such as Aurora House were not allowed to apply for emergency grant funding.

Toledo City Council tried to change the plan, giving Family House an extra $64,166 of CDBG money to make it nearly whole with the 2012 allocation. It also gave more to Aurora House, 1035 N. Superior St.; LaPosada, 435 Eastern Ave.; and St. Paul’s Community Center, 230 13th St.

Mr. Bell used a line-item veto on May 22 to erase those changes but later said he would ask council to approve taking $100,800 out of the city’s general fund to help bail out three shelters by setting their funding at 2012 levels.

After the announcement last week that the CDBG allocation would be higher than 2012, Mayor Bell said general fund money was no longer needed because the city had more federal cash to hand out. But his latest plan gives the shelters what was sought for 2013-14, not the same amounts received in 2012, the intention of a majority of council.

In the case of Family House, the latest plan would add $29,984 of CDBG money to the $153,110 in ESG money allocated in the plan to HUD, to total $183,094, the amount the shelter requested for 2013-14.

Aurora House would get an extra $45,361 in CDBG money plus the $29,033 CDBG under the plan to HUD to total $74,394. That is down from the combined $82,344 last year.

LaPosada would get an extra $10,611 CDBG money plus the $26,398 it gets in ESG under the plan to HUD, for a total of $37,009. That matches what was received in 2012.

Also under the recommendations sent to HUD, St. Paul’s Community Center would get $20,500 in block grant money, or about half of what it previously received. Family Outreach Community United Services Inc., 283 Ashland Ave., would get $77,282, and Harbor House, a shelter for homeless and chemically dependent women at 3322 Cherry St., would get $14,700.

Mr. Bell also requested to direct $83,422 to rapid rehousing services. The homelessness board would use that money for rental and utilities aid after a homeless person is placed in a house or apartment, Mayor Bell’s spokesman Jen Sorgenfrei said.

The latest changes need council approval. Councilman D. Michael Collins said he was pleased that general fund money was off the table, but he wants to see the shelters funded to 2012 levels.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.