Grant Money to Help Homeless

By Lessie Brown
Post Register
Printed on Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shantell Schroeder struggled with meth addiction, had two children living in different homes and one more on the way when she came to The Haven.

There, she learned the kinds of life skills a young mother needs to raise children.

"I couldn't have learned the stuff that I learned at The Haven at home with my family and the people I used to hang out with," said Schroeder, who has all her kids back and lives in a home she rents through the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. "There are still some struggles, but everyone's where they're supposed to be."

Schroeder, 29, is a graduate of Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership's Haven rehabilitation and transitional housing program. She's a living example of how Idaho Falls groups that help the homeless use government grant money.

CLUB Inc. of Idaho Falls, EICAP and the Ark, will receive nearly $600,000 in grant money from IHFA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this summer.

These organizations provide rehabilitation services and transitional housing for homeless individuals and families.

Most of the money goes toward replenishing the budgets of established programs, but MarDee Harper of CLUB Inc. said $193,000 of this year's grant will help pay for the new Community Crisis House, an emergency shelter for families.

"The Community Crisis House will have staff available 24/7," Harper said. "Most crisis centers don't have that. This program will be available to people who are in true, immediate crisis and need somewhere to go."

And with the economic downturn, local homeless organizations are seeing a brand new crop of people: those who have recently lost a job.

"I can't believe what I'm seeing," said EICAP's Sheryl Bailey. "Six calls for assistance in a 24-hour period. All of them stemming from layoffs."

Harper has also noticed an increase in families who are shocked to be homeless. Club Inc. has 125 beds full and 30 people on their waiting list. Harper said this demand makes the grant money even more vital to these programs.

"This grant is 80 percent of our funding," Harper said. "It's extremely important to us."

In the money

CLUB Inc., the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership and the Ark are set to receive $579,602 in government grants.

CLUB Inc. provides housing primarily to families and will get $428,913. Of that, $193,128 will go to permanently fund a Community Crisis House.

EICAP primarily serves women and children and will get $75,412 to maintain current programs.

The Ark provides transitional housing to the chronically homeless and will get $75,277 to maintain current programs.