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City reimbursed for homeless subsidies

But official warns grants may be delayed again in 2014

By Jeremy P. Kelley - Staff Writer

The city of Dayton has finally been fully reimbursed by the federal government for the $750,000 in rental subsidies it paid earlier this year to keep some chronically homeless people off the streets.

Aaron Sorrell, the city’s director of planning and community development, said the two shelter-plus-care grants approved by City Commission on Wednesday, totaling about $570,000, were the final steps in that reimbursement.

The nearly 350 individuals and households who benefit from the subsidies are people who suffer persistent mental illness, chronic chemical dependency and AIDS-related diseases, according to city documents. The subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allow them to live in the River Commons facility, on the Veterans Administration campus and in private landlord housing throughout Montgomery County.

“If not for these funds, they’d likely be on the street or in a shelter,” Sorrell said.

The HUD grants were delayed this year as a result of contentious federal budget negotiations, so the city stepped in. Sorrell said the city likely will face a similar decision next year, as federal budget votes probably will not be completed before the current round of housing subsidies expires.

When Dayton community development staff made the case for fronting the rent subsidies in February, they argued that evicting these people would likely have ripple effects that would strain police and the local mental health system.

The shelter-plus-care program, in partnership with Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, includes case management services aimed at helping the recipients live more independent, stable lives.

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