The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 19, 2014

Stopgap funding found for Pittsburg homeless shelter

PITTSBURG, Kan. — A Pittsburg homeless shelter slated to close this month will reopen in May after the city receives $60,000 in funding from the Kansas Housing Resources Corp.

Last fall, officials with the Southeast Kansas Community Action Partnership reported that the Choices Family Emergency Shelter’s future was in jeopardy. The Kansas Housing Resources Corp. announced that it planned to cut in half the annual funding granted to SEK-CAP.

Shelter officials said last month that they were beginning preparations to close the emergency shelter on March 31 and were no longer accepting applications for housing.

SEK-CAP annually receives about $743,000 for various programs for low-income residents, including Tenant Based Rental Assistance, the homeless shelter and general public transit. Officials expect the cuts, depending on several variables, to be between $371,000 and $396,000 this year.

Even though the shelter also sees almost $200,000 in local donations annually, it continually has faced shortfalls.

On Tuesday, the city of Pittsburg announced that it will receive $60,000 in Emergency Solutions Grant funding on April 20. The money will be passed to SEK-CAP, which will designate it for the homeless shelter.

During the month of April, said Becky Gray, director of research at SEK-CAP, the shelter will be thoroughly cleaned and reorganized before it opens again May 1.

The funding will allow the shelter to operate through the end of June, and Gray said the city and other agencies in Pittsburg will be working to design an Emergency Solutions Grant application that must be filed in April.

“If everything goes as we hope it to, we’ll know prior to July if we’ll have money to continue operating after July,” Gray said.

The shelter serves about 300 people per year, and Gray said there are two families remaining at the shelter. “Both of them have a plan,” she said.

Volunteers needed

SEK-CAP IS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS for a community work day that has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, April 5, at the Choices Shelter, 207 N. Pine St. For information, people may contact Becky Gray at beckyg@sek-cap.com.

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