• December 20, 2014

Killeen mulls giving shelter additional funds

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Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 4:30 am

The Killeen City Council is mulling making an amendment to increase its general fund in the current fiscal year’s budget by $250,000 to expedite the opening of a homeless shelter.

Families in Crisis Inc., a local nonprofit that provides shelter and services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence, submitted its proposal to the council last year to establish a homeless shelter in the city.

Killeen, the largest city in Bell County, does not have a general-use homeless shelter.

In June, the project garnered the council’s blessing and $500,000 when the body approved the project for federal funding.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allotted $1.6 million to the city last year to split between local nonprofits for projects that aid the indigent population.

Larry Moehnke, the agency’s board president, told the council at a special workshop meeting Feb. 11 that the organization secured more than $750,000 in funds and is asking the council for $250,000 to expedite the facility’s opening.

The shelter was originally projected to be in operation in March 2015, but Moehnke said the additional funds from the city could have the shelter open by December.

Mayor Dan Corbin said the plan executed last year was to award the project with Community Development Block Grant funding for two years to get the facility built, but it wouldn’t be in operation by next winter.

Corbin said the only way to get the shelter up and running by next winter is to allocate funds from the city’s current fund balance, and then when CDBG funds are made available next year give higher priority to other city projects that would normally be paid for out of the general use fund.

The shelter, which will be located at 412 Sprott St. near downtown Killeen, is 9,000 square feet, and will operate as an overnight shelter with the capacity for 72 men and women.

The renovation of the facility is estimated to cost $1 million.

In addition to being a shelter, the facility will offer supportive services, housing assistance and assistance navigating veterans and mainstream benefits available to the indigent.

The council unanimously agreed to allocate the funds to expedite the shelter’s opening.

The body will formally vote on the item at its regular meeting Tuesday.

nstewart@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7555

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