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Federal grant to help house homeless

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Feb. 14, 2001
The Multi-County Community Service Agency was awarded more than $1 million in grant money Tuesday to help homeless families acquire housing.
Officials from the southeastern division of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development presented a check from HUD to MCCSA Executive Director Callie Cole and Jimmie Smith, chairman of MCCSA's board of directors.
Shirley Deville, program director for Multi-County, said she was notified in January that the agency was approved for the money.
The grant will be used to place 30 families in homes over the next three years.
The money the families pay toward the lease will be put into an escrow account.
The HUD money used toward leases requires no matching funds, but matching funds are required for HUD money used toward support services and operational costs. MCCSA must provide 20 percent to HUD's 80 percent in support services funding and 25 percent to HUD's 75 percent in operational costs. Deville said matching money can also come from in-kind services, such as their office space for operations and existing educational programs for support services.
Applicants must meet the homeless criteria established by HUD officials, Deville said.
A family must be a husband and wife with or without children or a single parent and children. The family must have a source of income. If they do not, they can be placed in a temporary shelter while they work with Multi-County staff members to establish income.
Multi-County officials will also help families work toward a higher income if their current income doesn't meet the program requirements. Deville said this screening process will start immediately.
Multi-County officials will also be negotiating with realtors for available housing which must meet HUD standards and be inspected. Deville said she doesn't expect to have families in homes before June.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.