SafeHaven of Tarrant County will receive $75,000 in federal grant money after agency and city officials met Monday to clear up some issues that potentially stood in the way of the award.
Kathryn Jacob, SafeHaven's president and CEO, said Tuesday she has received a funding recommendation letter for 2018-19 for the money, which is the same amount SafeHaven has received in past years as an emergency shelter grant. The money comes from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development.
During the meeting, it came to light that the agency was being scored differently than the other agencies receiving emergency shelter grants because the city placed restrictions on how the money could be spent, Jacob said.
Jacob said the city is allowing the agency to make a budget revision, which puts them on track for having the grant spent by the end of September, as required.
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"We are an exceptionally compliant agency," Jacob said. "We are well-regarded for compliance."
Aubrey Thagard, director of Fort Worth's Neighborhood Services Department, which oversees grant compliance, said he is glad the city and SafeHaven "were able to get to the heart of those issues and reach a resolution. The issues were of an administrative nature and didn't involve any malfeasance."
"We are going to work with them to make sure they don't get in this position again," he said. "This is an opportunity for everyone to step back and say this is how we can make this work better."
In a recent email to the City Council, city staff said the Community Development Council was not recommending funding because the city had not spent more than $10,000 of grant money in past three years and isn't where it should be on spending this year's grant, among other things.
"The reason we have left $10,000 on the metaphorical table is because we were instructed by the city that we could only use our ESG funds for personnel at the shelter," Jacob said. "The city had restricted SafeHaven several years ago because of complications on the city side. That is not how ESG generally works."
SafeHaven uses the money to pay for a cook and childcare workers, which are high turnover positions, she said. When the positions are open, the money can't be spent on anything else and must be left on the table, she said.
The other agencies receiving emergency solutions grants were not under the same obligation, Jacob said.
In addition, SafeHaven, Tarrant County's only shelter for victims of domestic violence, received a lower score because the city said it has not kept up with filing HUD-required contractor wage reports on a one-time $150,000 grant from 2016 to make accessibility improvements to two shelter bathrooms.
Jacob said that money was not emergency shelter grant funds and should not have been held against SafeHaven. Moreover, it is up to the contractor to file those reports with the city, she said.
SafeHaven receives $4.4 million annually in federal grants, she said. Created in 2006 in a merger of the Women's Shelter and Women's Haven, SafeHaven operates on a $9 million annual budget.
This article contains information from the Star-Telegram archives.