The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

March 22, 2013

Shelters ask for 5 percent increase in state funding

AGENCY — The walls seem to be closing in on juvenile shelters across the state as bed after bed is taken away due to a lack of funding.

Tracey Boxx-Vass, executive director of American Home Finding Association, as well as Judy Davidson, director of the Agency Shelter, traveled to the Iowa House earlier this month to speak with state Rep. Mary Gaskill, D-Ottumwa, about increasing state funding for shelter care.

They requested a 5 percent increase in statewide emergency juvenile shelter funding.

“There’s no fluff in that,” Boxx-Vass said. “It’s a survival request. This doesn’t in any way, shape or form make us whole.”

The governor’s fiscal year 2014 budget cut $458,000 from shelters, she said, reducing the number of shelter beds statewide by 14 to 17.

The Iowa Senate has restored shelter funding in its budget, though the Iowa House’s budget made cuts even more severe than were originally proposed in the governor’s budget.

“Child welfare has been sustaining cut after cut after cut,” Boxx-Vass said. “At this point, we can’t sustain any further cuts. An increase is needed just to keep in business.”

Since 2007, 95 beds have been cut statewide, according to the Coalition for Family & Children’s Services in Iowa, which has been leading the charge alongside the Iowa Department of Human Services to “right-size” the shelter bed system in the state.

Right now, the Agency Shelter has 15 beds, though it is only contracted for 10 and only gets paid for 10. The shelter also has three unallocated beds.

“We get paid for the 10 no matter what,” Davidson said. “But we have to get permission to use the three beds before we get paid.”

A 5 percent increase would not “by any means cover our costs,” Boxx-Vass said, but it would keep the shelter from going out of business.

The pair have discussed the issue with area legislators, including Gaskill, as well as state Reps. Curt Hanson, D-Fairfield, and Dave Heaton, R-Mount Pleasant.

Gaskill said she empathizes with the shelters.

“They haven’t had an increase for quite awhile and I think it’s time that they have one, and I’m going to do all that I can to see if we can make that happen,” she said. “It’s pretty tough out there for nonprofits trying to provide services for people.”

She said when the Democratic-controlled Senate’s version comes to the Republican-controlled House, “more than likely the House will substitute their bill for the Senate bill.”

“So it’ll probably go to a conference committee or just sit there, and nobody will do anything because in that budget there is also Medicaid expansion money, so there’s a lot of controversy about that bill,” Gaskill said.

Text Only
Ottumwa
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National