Stillwater News Press

March 29, 2013

Stillwater to feel sting of sequester

By Russell Hixson
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — The wide range of federal budget cuts known as the sequester will be shrinking funds for some area organizations.

Mission of Hope, a shelter that helps area homeless get back on their feet, anticipates approximately $12,500 in cuts from grants this summer.

Director Jana Nelson said the shelter gets four grants — two transitional housing grants and two permanent housing grants. Nelson said they have been informed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that, as part of the $85 billion in federal cuts, the grants would be trimmed by 5 percent.

“It would likely reverse significant progress made over the last several years in reducing chronic homelessness and homelessness among the nation’s veterans,” wrote Ann Marie Olivia, director of special needs assistance programs for HUD in an email to homeless grant recipients.

“It’s definitely going to hurt the homeless,” Nelson said.

Wings of Hope, a local group that supports victims of domestic violence, is also expecting some cuts but how much is hard to say. Executive Director Marie Abraham-Robinson said five employees at the organization are partially funded by the Victims of Crimes Act grant. The state will receive 5 percent less to distribute to organizations. How much each organization will be affected is difficult to say, Abraham-Robinson said.

“We will continue our fundraising efforts because grants are not guaranteed, and we cannot rely solely on grants to maintain our agency’s programs,” Abraham-Robinson said. “Our shelter and non-shelter services are essential to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and these programs need to remain in place.”

She encouraged residents to donate to the United Way and to shop at Elite Repeat, where purchases help support Wings of Hope.

Project H.E.A.R.T. is another organization that could be affected by the sequester.

The organization serves hot meals to seniors in Stillwater. Director Chris Harden said cuts for the service are coming. She said Project H.E.A.R.T. soon will receive word on how deep those cuts will be.