City of Florence discusses impact on homeless if CDBG budget is cut

FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – Some leaders in Florence worry their fight against homelessness may face a setback.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget may eliminate Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

Florence uses the grants to help poor people and reports the city’s trying to come up with a backup plan.

Monday council heard from two activists, Mister Buquilla Ervin Cannon and Cindy Williams. Both of the women want council to look for ways to help the homeless or working poor if the CDBG budget is cut.

“We have been talking about this since I opened the minority health office in 2003,” said Minster Buquilla Ervin Cannon, the Executive Director of the Office of Minority Health and President of The National Action Network Pee Dee Chapter.

Last year, the city got nearly $262,000 worth of grants. $100,000 of that money was used to revitalize neighborhoods. About $39,000 was used to for shelters like the Salvation Army, Manna House and Lighthouse Ministries.

The city is not sure if it will get any money next year. Cannon suggests the city look for other ways to fund shelters and housing for homeless or working poor people.

“We cannot sit and wait for it [money] to come down from Washington. We need to be strategizing. What we should do. How can we replace those funds? What else is out there that is available to us,” Cannon explained passionately.

Council members hope to find ways to help agencies if the budget is cut. Council Woman Teresa Myers Ervin says city council already has a program in place. The Mayors Coalition, brings nonprofit organizations together to that serve the homeless and working poor people.

“Our part will bring service providers together. To see where their strong points are so we can help enhance that to better the City,” said Teresa Myers Ervin, Florence City Councilwoman. “We’re seeking direction from the experts, which are the service providers.”

Ervin said council will review the city budget later this month to prioritize money used in the city.

The Mayors coalition will meet tomorrow at 3:30PM at the Florence Civic Center.