Governor Jay Nixon has announced $1.3-million dollars will be made available to emergency and domestic violence shelters who have been denied for grants they have received in past years.
Nixon says the rejections for the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) were the result of a cut in federal funding for that program and of newly implemented federal regulations that put more emphasis on permanent housing solutions. Those factors resulted in less funding for emergency shelter services.
The new funding will be provided by the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC), who has administrated the ESG for the past two years, and the Department of Social Services (DSS) who administered the ESG before that.
As reported this week by Missourinet, at least 15 domestic violence shelters and one shelter for homeless veterans were told last month that they would not receive the ESG. Some of those shelters had received that grant since the 1990s. They had not, to date, been told why their applications were rejected.
“Missouri’s network of shelters provides safe haven for thousands of domestic violence survivors, as well as provide housing solutions for the homeless in both rural and urban communities across the state,” Governor Nixon said. “We will take the steps necessary to ensure that funding to the shelters is not reduced, even in the face of these federal cuts.”
Nixon says the Office of Administration with DSS and MHDC has identified a multi-year, long-term solution to bridge the gap in funding that has in the past gone to those shelters. It will include more than $500,000 for domestic violence shelters from DSS through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Another $800,000 for homeless service providers will be made available from MHDC through other existing funds.
Nixon says these resources will be available through future years and offer a long-term, stable solution for emergency shelters, domestic violence shelters and other homeless service providers.
The plan will be up for approval by MHDC at its meeting Friday, March 14 in Columbia.
“It is critical that Missouri keeps the safety net of shelters available to domestic violence survivors and our state’s homeless,” said Attorney General Chris Koster, another member of the Missouri Housing Development Commission along with Nixon. “I appreciate Governor Nixon’s quick action in identifying resources to keep the doors open at these shelters.”
“I support Governor Nixon’s efforts to work with housing commission members to implement a plan that will provide crucial funding for emergency and domestic violence shelters,” said Treasurer Clint Zweifel, also a member of MHDC. “I look forward to working with the Governor and my fellow commission members to address this issue and begin creating a long-term solution for these shelters next week.”
See our earlier stories on the loss of the ESG to those shelters: