Sojourner House loses $227K in federal HUD funding
by: Justin Murphy
Two transitional housing programs that benefit homeless women and children learned this week they are losing a huge chunk of federal funding, part of a larger priority shift toward more permanent solutions to housing problems.
The 16-bed Sojourner House traditionally houses homeless women and children for three to six months, providing self-sufficiency skills and education along with basic shelter. Wilson Commencement Park has 50 townhouses to serve largely the same population. Both agencies are run byPathStone.
They have long relied on the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for a major part of their budgets. In the new round of grants announced this week, however, HUD made dramatic cuts across the country to transitional housing providers, saying it was instead focusing on permanent housing.
“Much of the research (on homelessness) has clearly indicated that permanent housing strategies, such as permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, are more cost effective and achieve the same or better outcomes than other types of homeless assistance,” Norm Suchar, director of the HUD Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs, said in a statement. “We work to support these research-based strategies through the Competition and encourage communities to adopt them.”
In practice, that change in priorities means Sojourner House loses its entire $227,000 allotment, a huge hit in a total program budget of $1.4 million. Wilson Commencement Park loses $142,000.
As a result, three people have already been laid off and as many as 16 could be affected if the funding is not restored or replaced, said Seanelle Tracy, executive director of both agencies.