Grass Valley Homeless Shelter Facing a 50 Percent Cut in Funding

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GRASS VALLEY -- Hospitality House provides up to six months of housing for men and women of all ages, but in some ways Jewel Wadkins was still a girl when she lost her job and position in a veterinary technician training program, and her mother kicked her out.

"A homeless shelter, I didn't think at 21 that's where I'd be at," Wadkins told FOX40. "The night before [I came to Hospitality House], I slept under a tree, and that's where it hit home."

See Wadkins' full interview below.

Hospitality House gave her not just a bed, but culinary training for her new job and help finding permanent housing. But success stories like that are at risk as some homeless centers, including Hospitality House, face major cuts as California prepares to redistribute resources across the state.

For the estimated 300 homeless that live in Nevada County, director Debbie McDonald says Hospitality House is the only place offering even a temporary home.

"This is the place where people land, so with the emergency funding being cut, that would really affect the situations for our family dorm here, our women's dorm and our men's dorm," McDonald said.

Program director Jeff Cowen says state officials have warned them to expect at least a 50 percent cuts in funding. This would force then them to cut hours the shelter is open, potentially close completely for two months and cut their signature program, helping people find permanent homes.

Hospitality House plans to open a thrift shop in Grass Valley to help cover their funding deficit, but they worry there will still be a shortfall.

A spokesperson with the California Department of Housing and Urban Development told FOX40 they have changed the way they allocate their funds.

"We are using a formula that considers several factors related to homelessness and risk of homelessness to distribute funding statewide (homelessness count, rate of poverty, and extremely low income renters with severe cost burden). The formula is geared toward communities that don’t receive ESG funding directly, particularly the smaller and rural communities. So rather than moving funding away from rural areas and toward cities, it's actually the other way around. Rural areas are getting funding when they might not have in the past.

There are a few communities that did very well under the old system and we recognize they may face challenges and will need to diversify their funding strategies, including from their local cities and counties. But the new system will distribute funding so all areas of the state can participate, including many rural communities that did not receive any funding for many years and who are now able to participate in this state program."

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