CSA earns THDA grant for homeless and other projects
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG, Banner Staff Writer
Mar 14, 2013 | 963 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley Cleveland Community Services Agency recently received a grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, and its staff have been weighing the possibilities of what it and other sources of funding might bring.

The Emergency Solutions Grant is awarded annually, and the executive director of the CSA, Demetrius Ramsey, said it has become an annual source of funding. However, it remains to be seen how much money can be allocated to projects such as adding more housing for the homeless.

"We have been cautious about our plans,” Ramsey said.

The CSA provides a variety of resources primarily for low-income individuals in Bradley County. It manages the Cleveland Emergency Shelter, the Senior Activity Center and the Second Chance program, among others.

State Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland who represents the 24th Legislative District, said in a statement the grant is awarded to the state and filtered down to local programs through each city to which it is awarded. This year, the city of Cleveland was given $107,456 to be used for emergency services for the homeless.

"In this tight economy, it is very gratifying that our local needs are being met," Brooks said. “These are the kinds of announcements that we are pleased to send back home to our friends and neighbors.”

Ramsey said the city of Cleveland received the grant money, and the CSA will await money from the city for the purpose of financing the Cleveland Emergency Shelter on Wildwood Avenue and allowing other programs such as Rapid Re-Housing, which helps individuals facing eviction from their properties find new living situations in an effort to prevent homelessness, to continue.

When the Cleveland Emergency Shelter was celebrating its 25th anniversary last month, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said the shelter had been doing exemplary work and the city had been looking a the possibility of either adding onto the existing shelter or looking into the possibility of adding a second location.

“I think the shelter serves a great purpose,” Rowland said. “We do need more space right now.”

Ramsey said he was happy to hear the mayor expressed interest in expanding the shelter. He added that the CSA had recently acquired a building directly behind the current shelter which the organization hopes to renovate to add space for people in the process of transitioning out of homelessness.

However, a timeline for such renovations depends on how much money will be available during the CSA’s 2013 fiscal year.

“The city of Cleveland has been very gracious," said Ramsey. “Any opportunity to expand is welcome.”

Because the CSA largely depends on funding from the state and federal governments, Ramsey said it can be difficult to pin down exact dates and dollar amounts for specific projects. He explained the CSA is still using money allocated to it in 2011 and not given to it until 2012. The CSA just received its 2012 funds on March 1, he said. It is not clear when the recently award Emergency Solutions Grant will find its way to the CSA.

The grant’s funds have already been budgeted to be used for programming at the emergency shelter, homeless prevention programs which help individuals pay for utilities and other expenses and costs related to the Homeless Management Information Systems database. Ramsey said the CSA will also use the funds for Rapid Re-Housing if possible.

Dwight Donohoo, the organization’s homeless services coordinator, said such funding delays have caused staff to have to be increasingly frugal with how money is spent.

“We are optimistic that we’ll be able to meet the needs of the community,” he said. “We want to be as thorough as we can be.” 

The organization’s next board meeting to discuss all its programs is tentatively set for April 25.