Government shutdown continues to haunt Louisville shelter homes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Government shutdown continues to haunt Louisville shelter homes

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Jobs lost and people on the street: today we uncover hidden consequences of the government shutdown, still happening in Louisville.

Four shelter houses are dangerously close to closing with federal funding in flux.

We reached out the local HUD director who says a response would have to come from Washington D.C.

Freda Malone, age 46, lives in a transitional home in downtown Louisville -- one of four Choices, Inc. homes lingering dangerously close to closure.

"I was homeless, living with people or out on the streets from house to house," Malone said. "Sometimes I didn't even want to wake up because I didn't want the feeling of living the way I was living before I came to this house."

The federal grant that funds Choices, Inc. expired at the end of November. Beth Hedges says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, approved a new $70,000 grant for her non-profit back in August, but the money hasn't come in yet.

"Right now we have 5k," Hedges said. "The local HUD folks were waiting for instruction from Washington on what they needed to do to get the grant under contract and they only got those instructions last week."

What's behind the delay?

"Due to government shutdown and sequestration, HUD has basically stopped working for a period of time," said Mary Frances Schafer, director of community coordination for the Louisville Coalition for the Homeless.

There are backups across the board. The Coalition for the Homeless says St. Vincent DePaul has been without HUD funding since April. It had to end the Homes with Hope program that gave 16 families apartments.

The coalition says Wellspring, a local mental health housing provider, had to cut staff when HUD dollars ran dry.

"Now we are looking at the possibility of these projects not being under contract until January or February," said Schafer.

That's too late for Choices, Inc. They've already used their savings to fill the current holes.

"We would have to make arrangements to close our doors, lay off our staff and help our residents find some other place to be," Hedges said.

It puts Malone in fear of living back on the street.

"It would really affect me, really, really affect me, if we lost this program," she said.

After HUD found out about this story today, a representative called saying he'd come in from vacation Monday to work on grant contracts -- so they could get their money before it's too late.   

We'll let you know when the money arrives.

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