Logan holds off on funds for shelter

Supervisors waiting on more information

The Logan Township supervisors are holding off on deciding whether to allocate some of their 2019-20 Community Development Block Grant money for a proposed new homeless shelter in Altoona, pending receipt of more information from the organization that wants to build the facility.

The supervisors want to learn from Family Services Inc. how many Logan residents have used the organization’s current shelter over the years, when it hopes to construct the new one and how much it’s asking potential donors to give to receive credit for “a room” in the shelter, they said at a meeting Thursday.

The township is receiving $173,000 this year from the state, which is the conduit for money supplied by the federal program, said township Planning Director Cassandra Schmick.

Family Services Executive Director Lisa Hann asked the supervisors in May to consider a CDBG donation for the shelter, but she hasn’t yet provided the information they requested, township officials said.

In the May meeting, Schmick wasn’t certain that allocating money for the shelter would comply with program rules, but she’s since learned it would, she said.

If the supervisors make a shelter donation, it would only happen once, they emphasized.

Typically, the supervisors have allocated CDBG money only for housing rehabilitation, sewer laterals and sewer projects, according to Schmick.

That has worked well, even though the money doesn’t go far, due to the cost of such projects, said Supervisor Ed Frontino.

He would be comfortable with continuing to confine the allocations to those kinds of projects for 2019-20, he said.

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it,” he stated.

Accordingly, the supervisors could allocate $120,000 of the 2019-20 money to extend a sewer line along Pleasant Valley Boulevard to serve three houses, all of which qualify for the funding, because they’re low-to-moderate-income, Schmick said.

One township resident suggested using CDBG funds to maintain cemeteries, said Township Manager Tim Brown.

That would violate the program rules, which prohibit using the money to maintain public facilities, Schmick said.

The township used to supplement its CDBG allocations for housing rehab with money from the HOME program, which, like CDBG, is administered ultimately by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Schmick.

But the township isn’t planning to apply for HOME funds this year, as the program rules have become more complicated, according to Schmick.

The supervisors will next consider the CDBG allocations on Sept. 26, Schmick said.

They’ll adopt a slate of projects on Oct. 29.

She’ll submit that slate by Nov. 1, she said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.