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Emergency Shelters Brace For Budget Cuts

Middle Way House is expecting to hear early next week exactly how much its funding will be cut.

A Bloomington domestic violence shelter says funding cuts expected to be announced within the next week are coming at a time when social service agencies are already hurting from a drop in private donations.

The state Housing and Community Development’s Emergency Solution Grant is receiving a 23 percent cut because of sequestration.  By early next week, the state agency plans to inform individual shelters that receive money from the grant exactly how much their funds will be cut.

Middle Way House Executive Director Toby Strout says there has been a big decline in foundation giving both from the federal and private funding since the recession and she does not know if her organization will be able to keep providing services at their current level if more funding is cut.

“Funding is capricious, so you can keep doing the same thing and having the same effects and impacts, and in the case of Middle Way House, our outcomes are wonderful, but you can still lose money,” Strout says. “So there’s always a certain anxiety when you do this kind of work.”

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority spokesperson Lori Dimick says shelters should look to private donations or increased funding from their local governments to make up for the federal cuts.

“We hoped the cut wouldn’t be this bad. This is just how it is. It’s just the federal money just isn’t there, and there’s no state money for homeless issues,” she says.

Approximately $700,000 is expected to be cut from emergency shelters statewide.

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