Homeless Coalition Gets Federal Funds

WHEELING — The Greater Wheeling Coalition for the Homeless is set to receive $173,532 in federal funding after a competitive grant process.

The money, which the coalition vies for annually, will allow the organization to continue portions of its housing program.

This includes running transitional housing and providing voucher payments for emergency shelters, such as the Salvation Army and Lazarus House in Wheeling.

The money also covers the cost of the coalition’s homeless management information system, which counts and tracks homeless clients and referral services used by them.

The coalition office is in Wheeling, but it offers services in Brooke, Ohio, Marshall and Wetzel counties, said Lisa Badia, executive director.

To receive the funding, Badia said the coalition must provide documentation of its services.

”It’s not based on the number served, it’s how well you do it,” Badia noted.

For example, she said, a certain percentage of clients must maintain housing for at least six months.

According to a news release from U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan’s office, the funding was awarded via the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

”These HUD programs provide funding for a range of assistance to homeless persons,” Mollohan, D-W.Va., said in the release. ”They are competitive awards, and Wheeling’s success is a direct result of the hard work and efficiency of the coalition’s personnel in providing service and preparing funding applications.”

The coalition’s clients are required in a contract to adhere to a plan to help them get back on track. The plan includes short- and long-term goals. Clients must learn how to earn income, maintain housing and deal with their mental or physical problems. Some are required to volunteer to learn how to integrate into the community and acquire new skills, Badia said.

”Last year in our emergency and residential program, we served 478 unduplicated people,” Badia said. ”In 2007, 66 percent of the individuals we served were homeless for the first time.”