Shelter receives THDA grant for homeless service
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jul 18, 2014 | 628 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Cleveland Emergency Shelter has received a $86,773 grant for operations and homelessness prevention programs.

Cleveland Community Development coordinator Teresa Torbett said the funding was from an Emergency Solutions Grant through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

“There is always more need than there is money, so I am always excited to be a part of something that is able to keep [a service] sustained and moving forward. I know the shelter relies on our money to make it all work,” Torbett said.

She said the staff at the shelter have been good partners in submitting the grant paperwork each year.

Since 2008, the shelter has received more that $500,000 in these grants.

“We are an entitlement community with the Community Development Block Grant funds. THDA is working with those entitlement communities and there has actually been a fund set aside for those particular communities,” Torbett said.

THDA keeps communities updated on the type of grants for which they can apply.

“As long as we follow their strict requirements and meet all their guidelines, then we are eligible to submit our project and are pretty much guaranteed those funds,” Torbett said.

Entitlement communities are designated by population.

“We have been an entitlement community since 2004,” Torbett said.

The grant will help meet the everyday operational needs at the emergency shelter, such as staff or updated equipment.

“Basically it takes some of the burden off of the city and county for keeping those resources available,” Torbett said.

The Cleveland Emergency Shelter is funded though a variety of sources.

Torbett said the services provided go beyond just a place to stay. She said the shelter can also assist clients in getting their driver’s license reinstated, preparing for job interviews and applying for food stamps.

“They help walk them through those type things,” Torbett said.

A portion of the grant will also go toward the shelter’s homeless management information system. Torbett said the system allows the facility to keep track of demographic information on those being served.

“It is a computer tracking system so that anyone in the state ... if our client is in another community they will have been tracked as being here and receiving services,” Torbett said. “It is just a way of logging the homeless demographic.”

In addition to being used at the emergency shelter, some of the grant funding will be set aside to prevent homelessness through deposits or rent assistance for those who qualify.

The grant program is designed to help improve existing shelters’ design, services and prevention programs.

The grant is a reimbursement format. This means the shelter will spend the money and then submit the paperwork to Torbett, who will forward it to the THDA Emergency Solutions Grant program for reimbursement to the shelter.