Funds running low for Dallas homeless shelter

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on October 2, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 2 at 6:24 PM

DALLAS — Operators of a Dallas homeless shelter say they are running out of time and money.

The Shared Housing Center says it has lost nearly $45,000 in funding. Now it’s in danger of shutting its doors unless funding comes through from another source.

“I know this program works; people just need help and a start," said Pamela Russell. She knows because it helped her.

After leaving an abusive relationship, Russell was homeless. Now she works for Shared Housing Center as the Client Services manager, and the program that rescued her needs saving.

“It's possible we have to close everything down.” Russell said.

A house located in the 4700 block of Gaston Avenue is one of two operated by Shared Housing. Clients share the home until they can afford to move out.

As many as 55 people a year may live in a Shared Housing home. Recently, the agency has seen its federal funding dry up because the focus on dealing with the homelessness has shifted from programs like Shared Housing — which offers only temporary housing — to programs that offer permanent housing.

Russell maintains that is not always the best solution.

“Typically, if they go straight to their own place, it's a cycle," she said. "They will be back on the streets in six months."

Shared Housing also offers job counseling and resources like a food bank for up to a year after clients leave. Russell said her program has success stories like Ikima Dubose, who was a homeless single mother.

“Now I'm married. My son is doing very well in school," Dubose said. "He's been on the honor roll since we've been here. I have my own home now."

That's something Dubose said would have never been possible if she hadn't once shared a home with others.

A spokesperson for the city’s Housing Community Services Department said legislation passed by Congress to focus more on rapid and permanent housing programs hurt Shared Housing because they no longer fit the definition of a shelter to receive certain grants.

The Shared Housing Center is currently getting federal funding through a grant for emergency shelters, but that funding was decreased by 25 percent and will run out next year.

To remain open, Shared Housing will either have to come up with a way to qualify for other grants or get more private donations.

E-mail cwade@wfaa.com

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