October 16, 2009

HALO, shut out of city funding, may get another chance at CDBG money

The city's Community Development Block Grant committee will reconsider its decision to deny money to Racine's primary homeless shelter.

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.

61 comments:

  1. I'm sure that the money will eventually be given to HALO...however, this should be considered a wakeup call for HALO, and agencies like it, that have for years acted as if they were entitled to this funding and never took the selection process seriously.

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  2. You don't think Halo should be eligible? People who are trying to stand on their own two feet, but have now become jobless or homeless for whatever reason need this facility. Where else do you think Halo is going to get it from? Charge rent?

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  3. A wake up call?! Are you kidding me? HALO does important, necessary work and we need HALO to assist people to get back on their feet. That is the best use of city money and I hope Helding and Co. reconsider.
    A wake up call?

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  4. The wake up call is from an administrative perspective, not a social service provision perspective.

    Yes, HALO needed a wakeup call. Every year when it applied for CDBG funds, it was waved on through without much oversight or questioning. Every other agency that applies for funding goes through a fairly rigorous process to earn it. HALO NEVER had to do that. It was simply handed a check every year.

    My comments are not a reflection on the work HALO does, but on the attitude of the administration (or, rather, former administration). No one finds it funny that all this happened as soon as Cheryl Buckley left? Really? You don't think that politics may have played a role in why HALO didn't have to fight for funding every year that she was ED?

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  5. It is normal procedure for agencies to receive funding only for a limited amount of time. CDBG funds were never meant to be ongoing sources of income. They are usually given to agencies for only a few years, during which the agency is expected to find other sources of funding to sustain it.

    This is no secret. Everyone is aware of this. HALO just had connections that allowed it to keep receiving the money. If it had done as was intended, it would have used the many years it was funded to develop other funding streams. It chose not to do so, knowing that, in the event its funding was ever terminated, it could simply 'boohoo' to the community that politicians don't care and are willing to put homeless out into the cold.

    This issue is the result of poor decisions on the part of HALOs leaders.

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  6. The bottom line is that we have too much art and not enough heart in this sorry city. Due to the evil influence of a corrupt corporate crime family whose members worship the dead-and-damned charlatan Frank Lloyd Wright, exquisite objects and exotic zoo animals are treated better than suffering human beings.

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  7. Isn't Art Howell the new leader? He is the man!

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  8. HALO leadership is a joke.

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  9. Maybe so. However, homelessness is a tragedy. The sooner this country grows up and chucks the Horatio Alger crap in the history's trashcan, the better. Then, after we've renounced Emersonian self-reliance and other antiquated bosh, we'll build a social safety net for all our citizens and join the civilized world.

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  10. People--NOT profits--should be our priority. Instead, our leaders yammer about money and throw their fellow man to the economic wolf. (We know which arrogant corporate crime family promotes hardhearted individualistic ideology for its sick fun and profit in this town. Memo to the Waxtrash: when capitalism crashes and burns, neither Emerson nor Wright nor Ayn Rand will rescue you from your erstwhile victims.)

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  11. It's easy to throw all the blame on the most recognizable name in town, but that wouldn't really tell the whole story now, would it?

    In a society like ours, there is absolutely no way to help people without also being concerned about profits.

    If our town is financially more successful, then that impacts every aspect of our society, including the homeless, the destitute.

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  12. Someone please refill this dude's Lithium prescription - quick!

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  13. Once we switch to socialism, we won't have to worry about profits. It's time we junked capitalism, divested the oligarchy of its ill-gotten gains and installed a socialist system. Socialism works very well in the Scandinavian nations and other developed countries. We need it here a.s.a.p. And if the John-Swines don't like it, too bad. After the government taxes them down to proper size, they won't be able to harm anyone again.

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  14. We shouldn't be funding the same projects year after year. Most times grants are only given for a strict amount of time. They are expected to find alternative funding.

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  15. HALO is well run and can account for the money they receive. Accountability is important. Do you want to give money to so called charity organizations who turn around and give the presents and funds and food to their own relatives and NOT to the people who need it?

    HALO is accountable, reliable and really, is now the GO TO place. It builds confidence, self reliance, skills and networking for those who need those resources.

    Shutting HALO out of city funding is the most stupid, ridiculous, outrageous decision the small politicans could make.

    If you want money to go to best friends, relatives, etc., go ahead and give to some of the other so called organizations.

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  16. If the funding is not meant to be an ongoing source of assistance to the recipient agencies, can someone please explain why the City of Racine continues to get funding year after year for projects like curb and gutter?

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  17. Anon 6:07 --

    "HALO is ...now the GO TO place."

    The reason that HALO is now the "GO TO place" is because it eliminated all other resources for homeless individuals in Racine. In 2005, political figures in Racine's non-profit scene decided that it would be more efficient to run all homeless resources out of one location, so they began a process that eventually shut down two homeless resources in our community -- Racine Emergency Shelter Taskforce (REST) and Homeward Bound.

    Now Homeward Bound truly needed an overhaul. It was disgusting, roach infested, the staff needed more training and the programs were ineffective.

    REST, however, was a model program. It utilized several churches in the area on a weekly rotating basis as shelter sites for the homeless. Nearby communities like Kenosha continue to use such a model in place of shelters. In Waukesha, a similar one-church model is in place for the overflow of homeless that occurs in winter months. REST was run on a minimal budget due to the donated space, dedicated volunteers and a truly passionate and dedicated director.

    Unfortunately, due to the powerful forces behind the creation of HALO,REST's two paid employees were forced out of their jobs and told they would need to reapply if they desired position within the new shelter.

    So, yes, HALO is the "GO TO place", but that is because it eliminated all other resources, not because it is the most effective model for our community. In fact, it is not. Without REST, there is now no overflow site in the city during the coldest months of the year, meaning that if HALO is full, there is no alternative, so people will likely freeze. Does that sound like politics or compassion to you?

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  18. HALO was created by United Way when they forced the closure of HOMEWARD BOUND and REST. The United Way should pick up the funding short fall.

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  19. Anon 8:22: Only someone who likes sleeping in a different bed each night, schlepping all his/her stuff from place to place each and every night cannot see the value HALO brings to the homeless.

    Instead of criticizing the United Way for creating it to replace REST, you should be throwing bouquets of flowers their way.

    I'm not knocking REST -- but, c'mon: It was not a good system for the homeless, forced to go from one place to another night after night. No place to leave their stuff; no place for training and counseling. I salute the volunteers who staffed REST, but what we have now is so very much better.

    The United Way spent a fortune to get HALO started and built, and HALO is a wonderful improvement.

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  20. The bottom line is that capitalism and economic chaos cause homelessness while socialism and economic order prevent it. Once we switch to socialism and build a social safety net for all our citizens, homelessness will cease to be a problem. (Yes, I know that Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and the House of Wax will howl about the "nanny state" and "lost liberties." However, our brand of freedom--the privilege to strive and starve--is a sick joke.)

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  21. I have a problem with having to do away with other programs. Taking out the REST program is for one reason. They don't want to compete for funding.

    They are doing that with the ineffective FOCUS group too. They don't want to work with other drug prevention groups. They only do what gets them grant money. Concentrating on smoking and alcohol. Our city has a real situation with pot and crack. But they are the largest and only program funded. Dare was attacked all over the papers as being ineffective and funding cut. It is BS. Kids cannot be talked to enough by enough people on how to not become a drug addict.

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  22. Just maybe some people preferred the church program and REST. Maybe they only needed a shelter for one night? Who really would trust to leave their stuff behind? Most of the real homeless I see have everything with them. It is a shame a decent group like REST was bullied out of existence. I just be the churches could pull it off again and see which type the homeless prefer.

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  23. Who owns the HALO building? Seems like a lot of the non-profits are all over in that area. Is this person getting a benefit from having all those non-profits in their buildings?

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  24. Anyone who is simply arguing for socialism while discussing homelessness doesn't have any personal experience with the issue.

    Government assistance is not the answer to this social issue. Having worked with the homeless, I can tell you that there are three main groups (1) those that have received assistance for most of their lives (often for generations within their families) and are simply living out a lifestyle that they are familiar with, (2) those who truly want to do better and are struggling to create and meet personal goals, and (3) those that just don't care and are comfortable with the life of homelessness.

    Why socialism (aka more gov't assistance) won't help:
    (1) The first group doesn't need more financial assistance- they need education and insight. Handing someone $1,000 doesn't do a bit of good if they don't already know how to handle $10. People need a greater understanding of how to project long-term family goals and budget appropriately - and the will to do it.

    (2) The second group is aware of the struggle ahead. The resources already exist within this community for this group to succeed - and they often do. It's not about money or assistance - it's about their will.

    (3) The final group actually does exist, despite people's attempts to act like they don't. There are people who are fine being homeless. They are fine working the system. Sometimes this attitude is the result of addiction, sometimes its just plain laziness. Either way, they aren't going to use resources to do better, and they aren't going to use financial assistance to succeed.

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  25. Even so, it's far more humane to help the homeless than it is to make them jump through hoops to prove their worthiness to receive assistance. In addition. there's something sick about tormenting society's victims while degener-twits inherit billions and live high simply because somebody croaked and left them a bundle. As long as the Waxtrash and their lackeys squat obscenely on their loot piles, no one should begrudge the poor the pathetic crumbs which our filthy system so reluctantly gives them.

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  26. Who says that the poor have to succeed? If programs help them to survive and derive a modicum of pleasure from their lives, that should suffice. (Memo to the neo-Victorians in our midst: Emerson znd Horatio Alger are dead. Good riddance!)

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  27. I'm sorry that I didn't type "and" correctly. Even so, my opinion stands as stated. We expect too much from ordinary people in this sadistic richman's country. Older. wiser nations don't make this blunder. Because they've outgrown Transcendentalism and never fell for Ayn Rand's brand of ballyhoo, they accept people as they are, limitations and all. It's time for us to ease up on the poor--and on ourselves.

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  28. Man, someone needs some prescription refills or the address to the 24 hour Walgreens.

    Halo is so much of an improvement. It added a stability to the homeless. Finding the right church and finding volunteers on a consistent basis was pretty dang hard. Sorry to the former worker who is posting on here but Halo works.

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  29. "Halo works"?

    Really? What world are you living in? This statement is only true if your entire understanding is built upon the PR statements released through the staff and ED.

    Check out their stats on people leaving the shelter. Many are not that much better off than when they arrived, and some continue to be homeless. In addition,can you explain how it's better that HALO reduced resources to just one shelter, meaning that many homeless have to be turned away each winter?

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  30. I am constantly amazed by how gullible Racinians are when it comes to non-profit organizations. Produce some sad pictures, tell a sad story, and Racine instantly throws some money your way and rushes to your defense without ever taking a glance at the reality.

    Its easy to SAY your work is better and more efficient. Its actually pretty easy to make the numbers say it, too, if you twist them just slightly in your favor. Only folks on the inside, one of whom has clearly been posting here, will ever really know the truth. It's a shame so many people would rather trade truth for the sad stories and fudged numbers.

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  31. Kevin - I hope you knew this was coming otherwised they really ripped you one.

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  32. That HALO place is locked down like a prison. I would rather stay in a church.

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  33. Ehe bottom line is our lack of a social safety net in this greedy richman's country. Give the rank-and-file citizens a Western European style system of cradle-to-grave entitlements and we'd have very little homelessness here. Of course, the privileged class and scads of brainwashed would-be richie-poos don't want to pay taxes to help their victims.So that's why America's homelessness problem persists.

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  34. 11:31 - Is this you Mr. Angry? Yada, yada, yada - these trite comments are getting very old. You find a way to throw your richie poos and Waxis into every story.

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  35. No, there is no "Mister Angry." Rather, there are several men interested in promoting social justice who agree to go online at certain times.

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  36. Dear 8:38 A.M., If "Waxies" and "richie-poos" appear frequently in our comments, it is because these evil, hyper-privileged people are responsible for much of the misery in this community.

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  37. 9:37 - No, it because you cannot come up with an original thought. You keep recycling one anothers. And there is a Mr. Angry within your ranks.

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  38. Although there is no "Mr. Angry," there are many angry men in our group. As for originality, it's secondary to truth.

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  39. Mr. Angry - you'd be much happier if you were not angry!

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  40. I'm not "Mr. Angry." Regarding happiness, I'll rejoice when we've built a social democratic America in which no citizen will ever be homeless again.

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  41. Mr. Angey - so what are you specifically doing to achieve your plan other than ranting on this site. Let's hear specifics.

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  42. Helping marginalized citizens register to vote is one activity in which I engage. When more people who have zero stake in capitalism cast their ballots for progressive candidates, a people's government will replace capitalism with socialism and provide every citizen with an economic safety net. (It works in The Netherlands. Just ask PR=PR about the great programs and short work week they've got in Holland. Although PR=PR didn't like what he viewed as the stifling of ingenuity over there, most ordinary folks wouldn't care if our precious brand of Yankee ingenuity moved to Mars for the duration. Ask almost any blue collar guy--he'd rather have the social safety net and a guaranteed annual income than all the clever inventions that ever came down the pike.)

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  43. By the way, although there is no "Mr. Angry." there are many angry men in Racine. Lord willing, our gruop will help the downtrodden people destroy capitalism using legal, peaceful methods only.

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  44. I'm sorry that I didn't spell "group" correctly. Still, I'll stand by my statement that most regular people aren't interested in ingenuity and view overly-clever people with extreme suspicion. (It may come as a shock to some of us that many cultures despise innovators and see them as trouble makers. People who've been taught to play it safe by following tradition tend to be hostile to change because it threatens their self-identity.)

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  45. More to the point, working Joe and Jane see innovators as threats to their jobs and, hence, their economic survival. As they see it, high-tech and the cyber-revolution destroyed millions of clerical jobs which high school graduates could perform without pricey additional training. If all the inventors were to pack up and relocate in Asia, most rank-and-file Americans wouldn't miss them.

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  46. Other non-profits, like Neighborhood Watch, have had their CDBG funding cut for years. Maybe Halo got priority for whatever reason. You take from one to give to another. The problem I see is that Halo probably serves a large population who come up from Illinois. Let's keep the money local. I know a very large population of homeless, served by the Shalome center in Kenosha was from Illinois. Sorry, things are tough, and Illinois has few homeless shelthers. That's because Wisconsin takes them.

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  47. As long as the average American family is three paychecks away from homelessness, HALO will be necessary. Until we build a social safety net for all our citizens, economic insecurity will prevail.(Why are things that way in the U.S.A.? We've got a wealthy class which wants the rest of us to be poor desperate wage slaves. Once the government rescues the workers from poverty, the oligarchs can't exploit them any more. Since the elite can't envision a world without easily-exploited serfs, it does everything it can to block social programs which would help the rank-and-file.)

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  48. Whether we like big government or fear it, the bottom line is that a strong people's government is the only force capable of reining in and eventually smashing the corporate elite. A powerful federal government with the authority to seize and redistribute wealth if necessary will end homelessness.

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  49. Even Thomas Paine--a favorite writer among Glenn Beck's followers--supported the government's right to seize and redistribute wealth. Once we build a social safety net and provide adequate housing for all our citizens, homelessness will cease to be a problem. (Over in the Western European social democracies, there's very little homelessness. When you find homeless people there, they tend to be illegal aliens from Third World countries or nomadic Romanies who've chosen to have no fixed abode.)

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  50. As the current depression deepens, more and more previously-comfortable middle class people will start to identify with the poor instead of the rich. Eventually, an alliance of the poor, the working class and the lower-middle class will elect men who'll smash the corporate elite, build a social safety net for all our citizens and eradicate homelessness.

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  51. When large numbers of previously-purse proud unemployed middle class people wind up sleeping in their cars or on a friend's couch, watch out. Then the American bourgeoisie will stop supporting the elite's capitalist system and start demanding serious change.(Historically speaking, once the bottom half of the middle class sinks into penury, a society is ripe for revolution. Thanks to the present economic crisis, we're on the verge of reaching that benchmark.If a gal I'll call "Hellwitch" wants her quintet of sons to inherit lots of loot, she'll tell her Bugspray Bankers to halt the foreclosures. An impoverished lower-middle class whose members side with the working class and the poor could bring down her capitalist system and force her progeny to work for a living.)

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  52. 10:03 - Mr. Angry, As long as we have gifiting opportunities and trusts the rich and their families will continue to be rich. Your revolution again is a figment of your imagination. Quit living the future on the past. And stop threatening people - we will find out who you are and have you arrested.

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  53. There is NO "Mr. Angry." Furthermore, our organization does not threaten anybody. However, we do tell people what could happen if social injustices are not corrected. Read any history of the French Revolution and you'll observe the uncanny similarities between France in the seventeen-eighties and modern America. Our people are watchmen who warn the people about dangerous situations, not agitators who cause socio-economic upheavals.

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  54. Dear 10:03, If you think that revolutions are figments of the imagination, start studying history. Unless the government aids the poor, the working class and the lower-middle class soon,America could explode.

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  55. If the rich were smart, they'd shell out cash to the taxman and build a cradle-to-grave social safety net for all American citizens. Then ordinary people wouldn't resent the elite's obscene wealth and a modified form of capitalism would have a decent chance of survival.

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  56. That's how the billionaires and millionaires have managed to survive in the Western European social democracies. By accepting the taxes necessary to fund the rank-and-file citizens' social safety net, they've helped to build a system which lets them function without having to worry about a violent revolution which could take their stashes and their lives.

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  57. Properly understood and implemented, socialism is a win-win solution to economic problems. The ordinary citizens receive cradle-to-grave security and the rich receive peace of mind coupled with freedom from fear that the populace may rise up and slaughter them.

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