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Rep. Bob Goodlatte spoke to HUD officials on TAP’s behalf, a TAP manager said.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Total Action for Progress’ Transitional Living Center for homeless people and families was pulled back from the brink of closure Thursday by word that federal funding for the center finally had come through, TAP officials said.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had been delayed in appropriating funding it has supplied for the center for 25 years, but announced Thursday that the center would receive $264,000, bringing it to full funding for the coming year, said Jacob Paysour , TAP’s housing services manager. The money accounts for about two-thirds of the center’s annual budget.
The news came just a day after the staff at the center was told in a meeting that in order to stay open through May, work hours would be cut, in some cases by nearly half, Paysour said.
The funding was supposed to come through by the end of the month, and the center could not have survived a longer wait than that, Paysour said.
Staff were making contingency plans in the event the center had to close, arranging for placement in other area shelters for the roughly 35 people living in the center now. The staff would have been laid off.
“That’s 15 people who would have been out of a job,” Paysour said.
To stay in operation, TAP raised about $4,000 in a week, he said. Meanwhile, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County, spoke to HUD officials on TAP’s behalf, Paysour said.
The center is a 55-bed facility where individuals and families can live for up to two years as long as they participate in services and work toward becoming self-sufficient. Services include case management, employment counseling, education and training, and budget and housing training. About 100 people a year come through the center with an average stay of about six months, Paysour said.
While the center is at full funding, TAP officials still are struggling to address funding gaps created by the so-called sequester federal budget cuts and additional cuts in President Barack Obama’s budget proposal, which would reduce funding to a number of programs that TAP runs. They include the Head Start preschool program, Housing Choice Voucher Program and home weatherization project.
TAP has an annual budget of about $18 million, $15.5 million of which comes from federal funds, either directly or passed through the state.
While the Transitional Living Center’s issues were unrelated to the sequester, the center’s status was indirectly affected by it, Paysour said, because it left little flexibility in TAP’s budget.
“We just didn’t have the cushion to fall back on,” he said.
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