The Community Development Committee voted on Oct. 8 to deny HALO's entire request. The shelter had received at least $50,000 in CDBG funding the last three years.
Alderman Greg Helding, who sits on the committee, said Friday he wanted to take another look at HALO's $76,194 request to run its shelters. Helding voted against money for the homeless shelter, but he's since reconsidered his decision.
CDBG money is given out by the federal government to help communities pay for local projects and programs. Helding said the money should be given out based on community priorities, and based on that criteria, HALO was a worthy recipient.
Others on the committee argued the Community Development Committee should consider new programs this year instead of acting out of habit. Ken Lumpkin, who sits on the committee, said all organizations should be eligible for the money.
"There shouldn't be any sacred cows," Lumpkin said. "No organization should be automatic."
The decision on HALO came, in part, because the city received $1.4 million in requests for about $315,000 in CDBG money. Lumpkin said deciding among projects is near impossible because most organizations who apply are doing important work in the community.
"Homelessness is an issue, but joblessness is an issue. So are youths being steered away from gangs," Lumpkin said.
The committee's decision on HALO was surprising because the organization received $50,400 in CDBG funding in 2007, $55,000 in 2008 and $50,000 in 2009. The shelter requested $76,194 for 2010.
The decision drew a strong rebuke from Neal Nottleson, who sits on the shelter's board of directors. Nottleson wrote to community members:
... I could translate the decision to exclude the decision to exclude HALO from ANY CDBG funding for 2010 (after being the recipient of $50,000 this year) as, in effect saying "... we've now resolved the homeless issue; let's move on to other things...". Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth and I don't really believe you think that to be the case, but that's how it could appear.Nottleson urged the committee to reconsider its decision, and he'll likely get his wish. Helding said the committee's recommendations at the Oct. 8 meeting were preliminary and that he'll ask to reconsider the HALO decision.
The committee's next meeting is Oct. 21.