North Dakota homeless coalition cuts staff, closes office
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People has eliminated its only two paid staff positions and shut down its Bismarck office indefinitely.
Board Chairwoman Diana Hall said the cuts are necessary to keep the nonprofit afloat amid financial problems, the Bismarck Tribune reported .
In a letter to members, Hall said the move will retain the coalition’s main functions and ensure there isn’t a loss of federal funding for North Dakota’s homeless service providers.
“That would have had a real and devastating impact directly on the lives of some of North Dakota’s most vulnerable people and we could not let that happen,” Hall wrote.
The statewide coalition oversees the Continuum of Care program, which manages grant funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The coalition is also responsible for handling a complex information technology system, known as the Homeless Management Information System, which is required to receive federal funding.
In 2017, state lawmakers cut funding to the Department of Commerce for the North Dakota Homeless Grant by 80 percent, from $1.5 million in 2015-17 to $300,000 in 2017-19. The coalition received $50,000 in grant funding through the Commerce Department last year.
Volunteer board members will fill in on some tasks formerly covered by the coalition’s two-member staff. The group is looking to hire a part-time consultant to handle other functions.
Hall said volunteers will conduct the annual “point in time” survey of the state’s homeless population this week. Hall will compile the information for the report.
Hall said the board is concerned that staffing cuts could hurt future grant funding if the coalition’s data collection quality declines.
“We’re doing our best so that it doesn’t impact it, but there’s a possibility that future funding could be impacted by this,” Hall said.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com