The Mobile City Council approved a slew of grant funds Tuesday to help the city’s homeless population.
The majority of the $166,609 grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development will go to the Salvation Army’s Safe Haven shelter, which serves homeless families. With the $99,000 in funding, the shelter will remain open, Salvation Army Director of Programming Angel Steadman said.
“We are grateful for the money,” she said. “Without it we’d be facing a tough decision.”
The 15-unit facility allows families to stay a minimum of 90 days with their expenses covered, Steadman said.
“We provide everything they need, including free legal assistance,” she said.
Students from The University of Alabama School of Medicine provide a free clinic and the shelter provides weekly classes on budgeting, finances, job readiness, parenting and other subjects, Steadman said.
Another $55,100 of the grant funding will go to the Family Counseling Center to help prevent homelessness. Roughly $12,000 of the money will be used by Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s administration.
Wings of Life, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility and ministry located downtown, serves meals to the homeless every Saturday and did so on Saturday, April 14, as part of its One Body Campus Collaboration program, minister-in-training Cameron Shaw said.
On April 14, the ministry served 50 to 60 meals to homeless men and women downtown as part of the program, Shaw said.
“It was pretty awesome,” he said.
While the program got students from the Alabama School of Math and Science and Bishop State Community College involved, the facility serves the homeless every Saturday, Shaw said.
“It’s important for us to give back, especially for our former addicts,” he said. “We were once there. There’s a sense of gratitude there.”
The need has increased, Shaw said, as 15 Place has limited and in many cases stopped its ancillary services.
“When I was homeless, 15 Place was a way to get off the street,” Shaw said. “It’s not there anymore.”
In other business, the City Council approved a change order of more than $60,000 with Thompson Engineering to repave Water Street before it is re-striped, in an effort to revitalize that area of downtown to allow for more pedestrian- and bike-friendly areas along the roadway.
City spokesman George Talbot said once the street is resurfaced and the re-striping begins, the city will begin to reconfigure the street to remove lanes as part of the project.
The council also approved a $150,000 contract with Clark Personnel as part of the Youth Empowered for Success (YES) summer internship program. While the contract pays Clark the money used to pay the interns, the organization will charge the city a fee equivalent to 10 percent of the $7.25 per hour minimum wage the city is paying the interns.