Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Emergency Solutions Grant

How Should We Spend Our ESG Dollars?

The Homeless Congress in cooperation with NEOCH, the City of Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, and the Bishop Cosgrove Center are hosting a meeting to discuss the new Emergency Solutions Grant funding. This is a new pool of funds that were intended to replace the stimulus funding from 2009.  It is hardly a replacement since we were given around $5 million per year for preventing homelessness in Cuyahoga County and the new allocation in 2012 will be around $600,000 to $700,000.  This is all because of the push in DC to cut, cut, cut, and cut until it hurts.  The program has been effective in serving thousands in Cleveland, but it will have to be scaled back because of funding from the federal government.

The Emergency Solutions Grant funding is distributed to Cuyahoga County and most every Continuum in the country.  In accepting these funds, the City/County must adjust their Consolidated Plan.  The Homeless Congress is having a special meeting on Tuesday February 28 at 1 p.m. at the Cosgrove Center to hear input from consumers of homeless social services about their recommendations in utilizing these prevention dollars.   The Office of Homeless Services is hosting another public meeting for social service providers and other members of the public on 
                                              Friday, March 2, 2012
                                              9:00 - 10:30 AM at
                                              the ADAMHS Board, 6th Floor
                                              2012 W. 25th St.--the old bank building kitty corner 
                                              from the West Side Market.
Parking is available on the street and at the West Side Market.  Parking is not available in the ADAMHS Board lots. Also, do not park in the depressing shopping center across the street or your call will be towed.
Congress passed the stimulus in 2009 to get the economy going, and with the housing crisis there was a huge pool created to prevent homeless.  There was an attempt to get this money on the street quickly, and so they dumped this money into existing programs.  Cuyahoga County received $14 million to be used between July 2009 and July 2012, and is just about out of funds.  Just for context, the program served 10,224 individuals between September 15, 2009 and December 31, 2011.  There were 2,074 families were served which is made up of 4,441 children.  Five percent of the total are veterans and 29% have some long term disability which makes it difficult to find housing.  Of the 6,800 who left the program before the end of 2011, 32% receive Social Security as their primary source of income with another 8% were receiving Social Security Disability, and 38% had some earned income but if they did not receive help they would have become homeless and had to live in a shelter. 

The program has funded legal help, mediation assistance,  the housing website, eviction prevention, rental assistance, housing search help, case management, and education of tenants of their rights when facing an eviction. We will have to figure out how to sustain these services with additional state or local dollars or figure out how to keep people out of the shelters with only about 15% of the money we had before. 

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