Funding for services for the homeless and for programs to prevent homelessness appear to be losing ground in the Legislature.
Utahns can contribute to the Homeless Trust Fund through an income-tax check-off. So far, about $308,000 has been contributed. In the past, the legislature has provided a supplemental matching appropriation to the account, which is then bid out to various programs that will assist homeless people.The homeless money, however, is No. 14 on the Community and Economic Development Committee's supplemental priorities. To reach it, the committee would have to get $4.4 million in supplemental funding. That's unlikely, with recent budget projections and a House mandate to reduce department budgets.
"Unfortunately, that's a huge loss," said Steve Erickson, State Homeless Coordinating Committee member. "We've just been given approval to draw down a $3-$1 federal match through the Medicaid budget to pay for case management at the homeless shelter. We planned to put $60,000 into that to pull down $240,000 in case management services."
Some of the money could also be matched one-to-one with federal monies for an eviction prevention program and to provide utility assistance. Another $60,000 might be used for that purpose, he said.
Last year, $516,000 was allocated statewide to provide programs and services to the homeless or the almost-homeless, through the Homeless Trust Fund.