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Government grant helps homeless

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Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - A big grant to help those in need in Chippewa County comes with a warning:  the money may not be there in the future.

The most recent homeless count in Chippewa County reports 15 people were homeless and in a shelter and 1 person was homeless and unsheltered.  96 people, although counted in the Point In Time, did have secure housing within a Transitional Housing Program.

This week, Starting Points learned it would receive an $829,420 dollar federal housing grant for three housing programs.

"What keeps our agency running is those grants," says Supportive Housing Case Manager at  Starting Points, Corin Tubridy.

A half million dollar renewal to be specific.  Funding transitional housing at Starting Points so it can keep the doors open another year.

"That money that we get through HUD as well as what we get through state grants, is what helps us get people back on their feet," says Tubridy.

It helps by paying rent subsidies to keep anyone on the verge of homelessness under their roof.

"That also provides other supportive services, things like laundry money or transportation vouchers -- like taxi vouchers or gas cards to help people find employment," says Tubridy.

But the long arm of the sequester is also grabbing at this budget's future.

"Through the years, the last years, grant funding has been cut dramatically and now we're facing the sequester and the budget issues.  So even when a grant was awarded, now the sequester means you'll get less money than they promised," says Executive Director of the Chippewa County Housing Authority Ruth Rosenow.

Which means HUD grants may go down to little or nothing.

"We're getting notice that our funds will be reduced.  The percentages kind of depend on the program.  Anywhere from 95 - 94% of the funding," says Rosenow.

Today, it's good news, tomorrow it could lead to some tough choices.

"You have to figure out how you're going to continue to help the families that you're committed to, with less money," says Rosenow.

In 2012 the starting points homeless relief services served an average of 163 people a month and works to help people find and maintain permanent housing.

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