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Agencies lose HUD grants of $125,000

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Two Bartholomew County agencies that transition people out of homelessness and assist victims of domestic violence are concerned about what the loss of two federal grants will mean for their efforts.

Human Services Inc. will lose grants from Housing and Urban Development totaling $125,000 at the end of June. The bulk of the funding, $94,500, supports Horizon House, a Columbus-based homeless shelter, said Jill Hammer, HSI’s executive director.

The loss of the grants has a ripple effect on Turning Point Domestic Violence Services, which has received a subgrant of more than $30,000 from HSI. The money is used to support staffing and programming at its domestic violence shelter, said Lisa Shafran, Turning Point’s president.

HUD is changing its funding priorities, Hammer said. Instead of focusing on shelters and transitional housing, the agency will focus on getting homeless people into apartments and permanent supportive housing which keeps them in one place, she said.

Human Services has been receiving these grants for at least 10 years but received notice in January that they would end, Hammer said.

Currently, Horizon House provides around-the-clock staffing and care, but without the grants its overnight staffing will have to be cut, Hammer said. She worries about that affecting people seeking emergency shelter.

“My concern is we miss people coming in late evening and probably not being able to provide 24/7 care and a point of contact for the community,” Hammer said.

Without the grants, Human Services won’t have the funds to transition clients to stable housing by paying for the first month’s rent and utilities, Hammer said.

Human Services will seek other funding to make up for the lost grants. It will meet with other local agencies, such as United Way and Love Chapel, to discuss solutions.

Turning Point’s current subgrant from Human Services is $31,480, covering the period of July 1 to June 30. That represents a 15 percent federal cut from the prior year, when it received $37,035, Hammer said.

“Without funding, our services are affected,” Shafran said.

The shelter has a staff of about 15 people. Programs include support groups, safety planning, tutoring and access to other resources, Shafran said.

Turning Point also will look for other funding sources, ideally not involving federal or state money, Shafran said. The agency made up most of the $5,555 cut to its current grant but will have to remain proactive in securing new funding, Shafran said.

“If we can’t get other money, then we’ll have to look at options, look at the jobs we have. Can we realign them to accomplish the same goals?” Shafran said.

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