With Clock About to Start Ticking on Federal Homeless Dough, Dallas City Council Spreads $5.3 Million Among 14 Nonprofits

Categories: Cover Story, News

Hal Samples
Learn more about The Bridge, the city's homeless assistance center, in this week's Observer.
The city council this morning approved three-year contracts totaling $5.3 million with 14 area nonprofit groups -- including The Salvation Army and Central Dallas Ministries -- to provide assistance to those on the verge of becoming homeless and folks recently finding themselves homeless.

The council's Quality of Life & Government Services Committee received a briefing yesterday afternoon from Teressa Page-Davis, assistant director of the city's environmental and health services department, detailing the city's plans to spend a significant portion of the city's $7.9 million allocation from the $1.5 billion included in President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

As we discussed last month, Dallas received $7.1 million from the feds, and the city also received approximately $800,000 in state HPRP funds, which will be divided equally between the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center and West Dallas Multipurpose Center. Of the $7.9 million total allocation, $4.5 million will be spent on homeless prevention, and $2.8 million will be spent on rapid re-housing, which helps people who become homeless move quickly into permanent housing. The city also plans to spend $105,000 on data collection and $380,000 on administration costs.

All 14 of the nonprofits that responded to the city's request for proposals were awarded contracts, but as Assistant City Manager Forest Turner said, the city has to spend "a considerable amount of money very quickly."

"We think we have a good list here to move the kind of dollars we're talking about," he told the committee.

Sixty percent of the federal funds, which become available October 1, must be spent in two years, and all of it must be used up in three years. The state funds must be spent in two years. Page-Davis stressed that the Homeless Management Information System will be utilized to track the payments made by each nonprofit to ensure that people aren't receiving funding from multiple sources.

Committee member Sheffie Kadane appeared to have a hard time grasping the presentation, asking Page-Davis: "If I have no income, I can qualify for this?"

She explained to him, very nicely, that people without income would qualify, but case managers would ultimately decide who's eligible.

Kadane then cited Page 11 of the presentation (page 12 of the PDF), and read the bullet point where it says "must be at or below 50% of area median income." Then he noted the area where the family size is broken down by amount.

"So, if I have no job, no income, and I've got four people, so I'm going to qualify for more, right?"

"Zero to 33,000 are in the four person," Page-Davis said, clarifying that the amount was an income range and not a qualifying amount.

"But even though I have no job or income?" he asks again.

"Right, you would still qualify."

"OK."

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