Following a public hearing Wednesday, the Warren County Commissioners approved an application for a grant aimed at helping the county's homeless population.
The Warren-Forest Counties Economic Opportunity Council (EOC) will now apply for $79,290 in funds over two years to help defer costs for homeless rapid re-housing programs.
The grant is awarded on a dollar for dollar match basis. The EOC will secure the matching funds.
Funds will be used to help cover the costs of a coordinator to implement homelessness programs, cover administrative costs and defer housing placement expenses.
The EOC intends to use funds from the grant to work toward immediate long-term housing placement for homeless individuals rather than placement in shelters or temporary housing.
"If we know nothing (else) about homelessness in Warren County it's that it's not people living in box shelters," Commissioner John Bortz said. "It's not visible and it has to be handled differently."
According to the commissioners, the Warren County School District has previously cited knowledge of at least 100 cases of homelessness among county students and their families. The commissioners also noted incidents of people living in campgrounds or out of their vehicles.
This will be the second time the EOC has submitted the grant application to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD rejected the first application based on a lack of funds for the program.
The commissioners also appointed a new member to the county housing authority's board of directors.
Frank Wilcox was approved as a new board member, filling a vacancy which opened when Dale Witherell resigned in April. Witherell had served on the board for 15 years.
"I take great pleasure in nominating him to the housing authority board," Commissioner John Eggleston said. "I have known him for many years."
Wilcox bring more than 30 years of experience in housing and public funding to the position.
The commissioners approved a contract for Michelle Alasky to serve as a children and youth guardian ad litem. Although Alaskey is paid hourly, the contract specifies a limit of $12,000 total to be budgeted for the contract. Much of the cost for the position is reimbursed to the county through state funds.
The commissioners approved a three-year contract with Allied Inspection Services. Allied will inspect the automatic sprinkler system at the courthouse at a cost of $570 per visit.
"Given the expanse of our facility it's pretty reasonable," Bortz said.
"All these wonderful things add to the ongoing costs of maintenance," Eggleston said. "That's one of the things taxpayers need to understand when they see that tax bill. It all adds to the ongoing costs of these things."
It was reported the county has cash-on-hand in the amount for $3.9 million, which is an increase over the amounts October 2010 and 2011. In 2010, the county had $3.6 million available and it had $3.3 million available in 2011.