[Hpn] Lake County (IL) loses out on U.S. homeless aid

chance martin streetsheet@sf-homeless-coalition.org
Mon, 22 Jan 2001 17:54:25 -0700


http://www.suntimes.com:80/output/news/lake22.html

Lake County loses out on U.S. homeless aid
January 22, 2001

BY LUCIO GUERRERO SUBURBAN REPORTER

A large chunk of the money for homeless services in Lake County will have to
come from residents, after a bureaucratic snafu resulted in the loss of
almost $397,000 in federal funding.

Leaders from Connection Resource Services are appealing to the public to
help keep social services for the homeless afloat since officials at the
U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department informed the group that an
error in its annual funding application resulted in its being kicked out.

Connection, which counts on federal funds for about 40 percent of its
budget, is appealing the decision. Still, even if it does win, the money
won't be available until November.

"We are going to have to beg and borrow to get us through the year," said
Ellen Belluomini, executive director of Connection, which is part of
Continuum of Care, an umbrella social service group in Lake County. "Social
service agencies live with lean budgets and limited cash. Today, we are at
best running on a week-to-week basis."

Belluomini said the loss of dollars could result in homeless people in the
county being left without a day shelter program. It also could adversely
affect the 40,000 formerly homeless men now served by the agency's
transitional housing program.

She said if that program were to close, those individuals could be forced
back onto the streets of Lake County.

Belluomini said the group already is looking at ways to tighten its purse
strings without cutting any of its core services. Among the initial cuts
instituted are reducing the food for the center's transitional housing
program and cutting free train and bus passes.

The problem, social service leaders say, is that residents may have a tough
time relating to the fact that there are poor or homeless people in affluent
Lake County.

Congressional leaders also vowed Friday to help keep the social agency on
its feet.

"Connection Resource Services is the only program of its kind in Lake
County. If funding is lost and the program is allowed to lapse, the homeless
in Lake County could go without services for a year," U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk
(R-Wilmette) wrote to former HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo. "Critical care for
those most in need will be lost if this error is not rectified."

***

HOW TO HELP


If you want to donate:

Tax-exempt donations can be made to Connection Resource Services, 3001 Green
Bay Rd., Bldg. 5, North Chicago 60064.

For more information, call (847) 689-4357.


Copyright  The Sun-Times Company

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