Homeless coalition facing budget cuts

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Just when the need continues to grow, cities are cutting their funding for the East San Gabriel Coalition for the Homeless.

For the second time this year, the area’s main homeless-services group could lose funding from one of its member cities.

In February, the city of Covina decided against giving the East San Gabriel Coalition for the Homeless its customary $5,000 annual funding.

Now Glendora may pull its $5,000. At its meeting tonight, city council will consider a recommendation to fund eight groups, but not the homeless coalition.

This year’s winter shelter program saw a huge increase in the number of homeless families looking for shelter. According to Irene Kubo, executive director for the coalition, there were 1,021 unduplicated individual clients served, and 131 unduplicated family units. The latter broke down into 249 children and 172 adults.

Among other services, the coalition runs the Emergency Assistance Center at St. John Vianney Catholic Parish on Turnbull Canyon Road. Pictured above is some of the homeless receiving a nutritious hot meal before spending the night.

The coalition houses only individuals overnight at the church sites, and gives motel vouchers to families. The Coalition issued 291 motel vouchers plus housing at a Glendora church for 48 nights.

The churches generously donate their facilities at no charge, but the cost for the motel vouchers exceeded $16,000.

Volunteers served 18,200 hot meals, packed the same number of lunches and served the same number of breakfasts — 54,600 in 105 days! Of those meals, 869 were to individuals and families who came just to eat dinner.

There were 16,500 bed nights. A “bed night” is a cot occupied by an individual for the night. This average was about the same as last year.

The coalition provides showers, toothbrushes, food, clothes, bus tokens and other services to about 500 people a year. The winter shelters are run by volunteers at many of our area churches, including Glenkirk Presbyterian in Glendora.

Last year, only six cities in the San Gabriel Valley funded the homeless group: Covina, Glendora, Baldwin Park, West Covina, Montebello and La Puente.

Together, the cities chipped in $45,000. Now that number is expected to drop to $35,000.

The coalition received a score that was too low to qualify for funding, according to Jeff Kugel, the city’s redevelopment and planning director.

The staff recommended that eight other groups split the city’s $67,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds designated for services, including helping the homeless, Kugel said.

“The thing that really hurt (the coalition) was that they could not tell us how many Glendora residents they served,” he said.

Workers at the coalition said they have ample documentation of serving Glendora residents.

“We don’t turn anybody down, so other cities are going to pick up the slack,” Kubo said. “This is going to have a ripple effect throughout the area.”

The council will vote on the funding at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 116 Foothill Blvd.

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