Even less for the poor…

In the last few days, homeless shelters, food banks and other Louisville social-service providers have learned one of their funding streams has been zeroed out — for the first time in 27 years.

John Nevitt of Metro United Way sent an email on Friday alerting various agencies that Jefferson County did not receive any money from the Emergency Food and Shelter Board Program for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. That’s a half-million dollars gone. Poof. Nationally, the program has had 40 percent of its federal dollars slashed.

Nevitt thought this might trickle down into a 40 percent reduction in Jefferson County’s allotment. But, the way the program is set up, jurisdictions have to apply for the dollars every year. And it appears that this year, Metro Louisville’s poverty rate (12.4 percent) and unemployment rate (10.5 percent) were too low to qualify for assistance. Nevitt’s reaction?

“Perhaps on one hand that means we’re better off than other cities. But that’s certainly not what providers are telling me … the need is great.”

Nevitt still is not clear on whether the formula the program’s used since 1983 has changed and, perhaps, that’s why suddenly Louisville is no longer eligible for funding. There is a small pot of money from the program — $259,825 — being set aside in case of emergency, but jurisdictions from around the state will compete for that.

Providers like St. Vincent de Paul, Wayside and Volunteers of America use the Emergency Food and Shelter Program funds to supplement other streams of revenue. It certainly isn’t the largest chunk of money they receive, but cuts are coming at them in all directions.

“I’m worried about the months ahead,” Nevitt says.

5 Comments

  1. Suzanne
    Posted July 26, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    That’s awful. You are right; EFSP isn’t a whole lot of money, but it is money that homeless service providers used to be able to count on from year to year, unlike so many other sources.

  2. Lisa Cates
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    JCPS has identified over 11,000 children who are homeless; not knowing where they may lay there head at night or where their next meal will come from. There are countless more who are not school age, have dropped out of school or simply do not attend.
    I understand that governing bodies need to justify distribution of funds based on some criteria…but one child who goes to bed hungry is one child too many. Cuts in funding to assist the disinfranchised is simply selfish and wrong.

  3. tony peters
    Posted July 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Let them east cake! We know where that leads…

  4. Carol Trott
    Posted August 1, 2011 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    This does infuriate me, and makes me sad. I work with and for women and children out of homelessness, and why do the cuts have to begin at the bottom, and not the top?? What kind of a country do we live in anyways??

  5. Jennifer
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    That’s not right at all. Those shelters need alot of support so they can help others.