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Grants Help Offer Place To Stay

January 25, 2010, 4:57 PM by Courtney Zieller

Grants Help Offer Place To Stay
Emergency shelters are able to help the homeless more, thanks to a grant program run by the South Dakota Housing Development Authority.

The Emergency Shelter Grants Program has been around for 23 years and those who need help are reaping the benefits.

The St. Francis House in Sioux Falls still has waiting lists for those without a place to call home.

"We've been full, solid for the last eight months straight with not one bed or unit available," Executive Director Julie Becker said.

The Emergency Shelter Grants Program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is helping organizations provide more services or expand their facilities. Becker says that's what the St. Francis House is using it for. 

"Assist with utilities, sometimes with insurance and of course, for some of the remodeling we've done inside the house," Becker said. 

The St. Francis House has applied for the grant program for the past few years and is in the process of applying this year. Becker says the money they receive from the program helps.

"We pay for all of our expenses by community donations. We don't receive any city, county, or state tax dollars so if we didn't have support, it would be a direct hit on our budget every year," Becker said.

The South Dakota Housing Authority says $350,000 will be available this year. It's grant money that will make a difference for both shelters and the people who need the help.

"When you're in an economy and you rely heavily on donations, it makes a huge impact on what we're able to do and what we're able to provide for people who come here for help," Becker said.

Last year, the St. Francis House received about $15,000 from the program.

Emergency Housing Shelters are able to apply for assistance.

Organizations can apply to the Emergency Shelter Grants Program online.

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