GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

July 11, 2013

Action Inc receives federal grant money

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — Action Inc. on Main Street has been pegged among some two dozen Massachusetts recipients that will land a share of nearly $4 million worth of federal funding secured by Gov. Deval Patrick’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

Funds totaling $3,947,020 from the Emergency Solutions Grant were distributed to more than 40 emergency shelters across the state with an eye toward bolstering services to the homeless, according to a Wednesday announcement from the state’s housing and development agency.

From that amount, Action Inc. will be receiving $32,286, officials said.

Those funds will not be put to anything new, but simply cover the costs of running the shelter, according to Action Inc. Deputy Director Peggy Hegarty-Steck.

Action Inc. can house up to 34 people on a given night, and gets state assistance with handling the costs for serving 20 people, with the remaining costs for the other 14 people staying at the shelter drawn from an Emergency Solutions Grant or local fund-raising.

This year, Action Inc. applied for about $37,000 for a grant to cover the costs for handling beyond 20 visitors, but the $32,286 grant should give the shelter more flexibility in steering its other dollars.

”A lot of these shelters operate at a loss,” she said.

Action Inc. was one of 10 shelters awarded funds under the shelter support category, other categories included non-emergency assistance beds, domestic violence shelter beds, rapid rehousing, Catholic social services, homeless prevention and tenancy preservation programs.

Hegarty-Steck said Action Inc. does not just provide a meal and a place to sleep, but the local agency also provides job coaching, counseling, assistants at permanent housing searches and other programs designed to help people become more independent, she said.

Funding for homeless prevention activities will assist about 618 extremely low-income families and individuals who are at risk of homelessness avoid shelters and find stability, according to a prepared statement by the Patrick administration.

In addition, the grant allows for 612 homeless individuals to be moved from emergency shelters to permanent housing this fiscal year.

The federal grant is awarded each year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which was increased under the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009.

Action Inc. itself had $34,381,879 worth of expenses in 2012, according to their financial report, but the nonprofit also posted revenue of $35,031,101, with more than three quarters of that coming from funding for statewide energy conservation programs overseen by the Action Inc. Energy Services Division.

Energy services also take up about 85 percent of the budget, according to the financial report.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.