The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Whoa moment: Gov's office not only accepts fed $, it touts it in press release

13

January

What a difference a few years makes. Remember when it was commonplace for state agencies not to accept federal money to help Floridians in need? Now, comes this press release from the Florida Department of Children and Families which touts the fact that the state was awarded a $4.4 million grant to serve the homeless.

For a brief history lesson, remember the time the governor's office pushed back grant money to move term care patients into their homes, curb child abuse through in-home counseling, and strengthen state regulation of health premiums? Or the time it rejected Medicare money to help sign up eligible recipients, turned away millions to educate teenagers about pregnancy prevention, rejected money to plan for the health insurance exchanges and turned away federal funds for cancer prevention? 

To be fair, the agency accepted a grant of $2.1 million in federal Emergency Shelter Grant funding in May 2012 that went to 25 homeless shelters and announced another $72 million in January 2012 for homeless as well. So why is it cool to take some federal money sometimes, but not other federal money other times? Is there an abiding principle here? A policy distinction, especially when the state was in the throes of the recession? We're hoping for an answer. 

Here's the DCF press release:

 Florida Awarded More Than $4.4 Million in Grant to Serve Homeless
 The Emergency Solutions Grant will support funding for shelters statewide

TALLAHASSEE— The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) today
announced they were awarded the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) totaling
$4,457,094 to serve homeless families and individuals by providing
emergency housing, outreach efforts and prevention services throughout
Florida.

“The grant allows us to continue to reach homeless individuals and families
and those at-risk of losing housing,” Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said.
“All Floridians deserve a place to call home. By investing in this
vulnerable population, we are insuring children’s most basic needs are
being met and we’re giving adults an opportunity to thrive and become
self-sufficient.”

ESG awards will be distributed by DCF to shelters and outreach
organizations statewide. Seventy-four nonprofits agencies and government
entities will receive funds to continue the programs that meet their
communities’ needs. More than 14,000 unsheltered homeless persons, or
individuals and families at-risk of losing housing will be served by the
grant. Funds will be distributed in the following program areas:

   -    $153,196 awarded for outreach services to connect unsheltered
      homeless persons with local housing and supportive services.
   -    $2,295,306 awarded for prevention services which focus on persons
      currently in permanent housing but are at risk of losing their
      houses; or to re-house individuals who recently lost shelter find
      permanent rental housing.
   -    $2,008,592 awarded to help improve the quality and quantity of
      emergency shelters for homeless persons and to fund essential
      supportive services for those individuals in need of assistance to
      improve their situations.

ESG funds are awarded annually through the U.S. Department of Housing and
Urban Development for five program components: street outreach, emergency
shelter, homelessness prevention, rapid re-housing assistance and data
collection through the Homeless Management Information System.

For more information on the Florida Department of Children and Families,
please visit www.myflfamilies.com.

[Last modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 4:07pm]

    

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