MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Department of Development has informed officials in Knox and Licking counties they will be receiving nearly $620,000 in federal stimulus money over the next three years for fighting homelessness.
Deborah Tegtmeyer of the Licking County Coalition for Housing, Donald Warth of the Main Place, and Joy Harris of Interchurch met with the Knox County Commissioners, Thursday morning, to confirm how the funds, which will be coming from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be handled.
The funds, known as HPRP (Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program) will be distributed directly to a fiscal agent, not to the county governments. Everyone in the meeting, including Harris and Warth, agreed that Tegtmeyer’s organization would be the most effective one to act as lead organization for the project.
“Both organizations felt that Deb’s coalition had both the expertise and the ability to assume the administrative pieces,” Harris said.
Knox and Licking counties were designated as Ohio’s Service Area 13. Their rate of funding was calculated by a formula which incorporates local unemployment and poverty statistics. Knox County’s 9.0 percent unemployment rate and Licking County’s 9.2 percent rate combined with Newark’s 51 percent poverty rate to boost the area’s grant. By comparison, Service Area 4, which is Coshocton and Holmes counties, is getting less than $325,000 for the same three-year period.
Formal application for the funds must be filled out between June 1 and July 14, with the funds to be disbursed this fall. The moneys are to be used to help people at or below 50 percent of the area median income. Funds can be used not only to help the homeless, but also to help those who are in danger of becoming homeless. Tegtmeyer said this is the first time in her experience that HUD has ever allowed money to be applied to preventative measures.
The commissioners signed off on a letter approving LCCH as the fiscal agent for the program.
In other business, the commissioners, along with Fair Board President Bruce Gregg, County Safety and Loss Prevention Specialist Emily Marth and Assistant Prosecutor Charles McConville met with Ben Pearce and Tracy Moore regarding a music festival being planned to take place at the Knox County Fairgrounds in September. The festival, which will feature around 20 area and regional rock bands, will be held to benefit the local chapter of the American Red Cross. The bands are all playing for free, Moore said.
Moore and Pearce confirmed that they are obtaining all the necessary permits, including a temporary license for a one-day beer garden. They are arranging for security for the event as well. Gregg confirmed that the fair board was in favor of allowing the festival. Marth said that she would contact Dave Gore and Vicky Sant at the Red Cross to make sure that the correct liability insurance rider was added to the Red Cross’ policy to cover the Sept. 19 event. McConville said that everything looked in order from the county’s legal point of view.
Finally, the commissioners unanimously reappointed Jessie Marlow to the Community Mental Health and Recovery Board of Licking and Knox Counties.