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$750,000 United Way Advance Helps Homeless Agencies

At least a half dozen homeless agencies in Central Florida will keep providing services this summer- thanks to a funding advance by the Heart of Florida United Way. The agencies were supposed to receive federal grant money that hasn't come through yet.

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[U.S. Housing and Urban Development logo]

One of the programs run by the Rescue Outreach Mission of Central Florida is transitional housing. It’s specifically for families that are on a path to self-sufficiency. The agency was approved to receive a U-S Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to support the program, but the money is delayed by several months. Executive Director Andrew Powell said that put 17 families with a total of 30 children at risk. “It was a major concern for us, the cost impact is somewhere between 16-18 thousand dollars per month,” he said.

The short fall is now being offset by the Heart of Florida United Way, which is giving 15 area agencies an advance on funding it would normally have given them in the next 6 months. The advance area-wide totals 750-thousand dollars. United Way CEO Bob Brown said it’s a really bad time for the HUD grant hold up because people are still struggling- despite the improving economy. Last year the United Way received 165-thousand calls for help.

“We’re almost on the same plane this year, people who don’t know what to do, 50-percent of them are unemployed, so the homeless service providers are running at full in almost all cases,” he said.

HUD said administrative changes are behind the funding delays, but it expects to pay the grant money within the next few weeks.  


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