By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Programs and services that provide aid to the homeless were dealt a severe blow earlier this week.
The Coalition for the Homeless announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) cut funding for several programs that serve the homeless in Louisville by nearly $1.2 million. The total award this year is $9,060,310.
The loss in renewal funding will affect programs that provide transitional housing for families, domestic violence victims and case management services, including the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the House of Ruth, which serves people with HIV/AIDS.
“Our community is devastated by these cuts,” Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition for the Homeless, said in a statement. “Local service providers are working now with community leaders and private funders to piece together additional resources and funding to make these cuts as painless as possible for those they serve.”
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul will lose $225,565 in funding. Agency officials called the cut in federal funding “devastating.”
Linda Romine, director of marketing and communications for St. Vincent de Paul, said the cuts will affect two major areas of the society’s programming: the DePaul Apartments and the Ozanam Inn Men’s Shelter and Recovery Program.
The DePaul Apartments — which formerly served as permanent housing for families — is in the process of becoming transitional housing for homeless families.
Four families currently live in the DePaul Apartments, with two more potential families waiting to be placed there, Romine said.
“It’s such a loss of an opportunity to provide safe, stable housing to families who have no where else to go,” she said in a phone interview May 10.
Ed Wnorowski, executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said the organization is committed to helping their clients transition into permanent housing.
“We will siphon funds from somewhere else in our budget, but we’re not going to make anybody homeless,” he said.
The other program which will be affected is an addiction treatment program for men who sought shelter at the Ozanam Inn, the society’s men’s shelter. Funding for case management services, which provide highly-structured one-on-one treatment plans, has been eliminated.
“Louisville is in the midst of a terrible heroin epidemic and this program was free to clients. And, it was really working. It’s a real blow,” Romine said. “We are scrambling to make up the difference. I don’t know if we can. We are looking at all possible options and trying to see how we can continue to offer these services.”
Some of the cuts will be effective July 1. Others will be staggered through Sept. 30, Romine said.
Additional organizations that will be affected include the Center for Women and Families, Family Health Centers, Home of the Innocents, Louisville Metro Community Services, New Directions Housing Corporation and Volunteers of America.