Program to prevent homelessness with data is the likely recipient of a $2M city grant
A $2.1 million grant for family housing stabilization is part of the recommendations for Human Services funding in Cincinnati. Another $4.9 million is recommended for 68 other programs.
The money is from the city's Human Services Fund administered by the United Way, which collects and reviews applications for grants each year. A volunteer Human Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) votes to recommend which organizations and programs should get funding; final approval happens through the regular budget process, which is in progress now with a final vote expected June 14.
The United Way and HSAC presented recommendations to City Council's Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Committee Tuesday morning.
"We had an abundance of applications," said Amy Weber with the United Way. "That led to a lot of hard decisions … the total requests were more than $11.3 million, and they had to work within the funding available to make these recommendations."
The Impact Award of $2.1 million is new to the process for the Human Services Fund. The committee is recommending the grant go to Strategies to End Homelessness for a family housing stabilization project, a collaboration with Bethany House, Found House, Legal Aid, Lighthouse, and the YWCA.
"Of all the applicants, they had the widest net of people at risk of homelessness," said Ariel Miller with the HSAC. "And if they can demonstrate through this project how to prevent people from becoming homeless, they may get certification from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that gives them more flexibility in using HUD dollars farther upstream. This is very exciting."
The project will use data to identify families at risk of losing housing and intervene, "proactively offering case management, legal services, financial support, etc. to address the situation well before eviction and homelessness occur," according to the project description.
See the full description below (story continues after):
The rest of the Human Services Fund is divided into grants for three categories:
- Comprehensive workforce development: (23 organizations, 25 programs: $1,994,232)
- Youth gun violence and prevention: (23 organizations, 24 programs: $1,595,386)
- Supporting, securing and stabilizing housing for high-risk populations: (16 organizations, 19 programs: $1,300,000)
This part of the process is the same as the last several years, but Council recently updated the priorities and how much of the fund should go into each bucket.
Two previous priorities were eliminated as part of those changes: addiction prevention and senior services. And because of the Impact Award, the bucket for housing and homelessness aid is smaller than last year.
"You're going to get some angry calls, because some of the shelters got an awful lot less than they did the last time around," Miller said. "And your staffers are going to have to explain the funding allocated to this category was significantly less because we're trying to invest in preventing homelessness. But people are not going to be happy."
Leveraged support is the other mechanism for funding outside organizations in the city budget, and that process also changed this year at council’s direction. Some of the organizations recommended for a grant from the Human Services Fund are also recommended for leveraged support funding in the proposed biennial budget:
- Human Services Fund: $60,000 (for Shelter Diversion) + $60,000 (for Preventing Homelessness) + $80,000 (for Emergency Shelter)
- Leveraged support: $125,000 (for shelter services and support for families experiencing homelessness)
Lighthouse Youth & Family Services:
- Human Services Fund: $75,000 (for Collaborative for Homeless Youth)
- Leveraged support: $125,000 (for Sheakley Center for Youth)
- Human Services Fund: $95,000 (for case management program)
- Leveraged support: $325,000 (for winter shelter)
Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio:
- Human Services Fund: $150,000 (for adult workforce programs)
- Leveraged support: $100,000 (2023-2026 strategic plan execution and The State of Black Cincinnati 2023 publication)
- Human Services Fund: $125,000 (for job readiness and Phoenix programs)
- Leveraged support: $175,000 (for workforce development)
YWCA of Greater Cincinnati:
- Human Services Fund: $50,000 (transitional living program) + $90,000 (for school violence prevention partnership) + $52,500 (for workforce development)
- Leveraged support: $50,000 (for domestic violence shelter)
- Human Services Fund: $46,000 (for Save a Life program expansion)
- Leveraged support: $50,000 (for Save a Life program expansion)
Council has not acted outside the HSAC recommendations for Human Services Fund awards in recent years. It used to be common for Council to make changes to leveraged support allocations, but this is the first year for the new process.
Leveraged support funding is allocated on a yearly basis. The Human Services Fund offers grants on a two-year cycle, meaning the organizations approved for fiscal year '24 will get the same amount in fiscal year '25, as long as the same amount of money is available and Council approves it again.
See a full list of programs recommended for funding in the presentation below: