Published on August 07, 2022 at 5:41 p.m.
Carbon County commissioners say they hope to soon award a $163,000 grant to Family Promise for a homeless women’s shelter.
The community development block grant proposal failed Thursday by a 2-1 vote.
Ahner and Chris Lukasevich voted against release; Commissioners Chairman Wayne Nothstein was in favour.
Ahner said he was voting “no, not at this time.”
“I think we need to do a little more research if this goes ahead,” Ahner said. “We cannot continue to distribute a lot of money. We’re not here to deny, but we’d also like to see progress.
Ahner has supported the dog shelter and many social services that contribute to the county. He said he was in favor of the idea of the homeless women’s shelter, but he just wanted more explanation on how the money will be used. The organization is applying for other grants and would like a breakdown of how the block grant would be used.
“I don’t want to distribute the money until there is a plan. $163,000 is a lot of money,” Ahner said.
“We have to be responsible for the money we put out there.”
Ahner said information on the plan was not available at the time of Thursday’s vote.
He would support the county planning department’s Family Promise aid.
The commissioners said they would meet with Family Promise leaders soon and that the release of Community Development Block Grant money could again be put to a vote.
The funds would be used for an environmental study for the project, which would be in the former St. Francis of Assisi Church on Mill Street in Nesquehoning. The association has its headquarters in the former presbytery.
Family Promise board chair Natalie Bojko said the organization’s plans will continue.
“Family Promise moved to its static location a year ago. During this year, we have made great strides towards increasing the number of families we serve within our community. As part of our plan long term, we continue to work towards opening a homeless women’s shelter. Family Promise is dedicated to this mission. We look forward to working with the commissioners and serving the needs of the people of our county,” said she said in an email message.
Lukasevich said he was concerned about continuity of leadership with the organization’s board.
The commissioners met with Family Promise officials about a week ago.
“I see a dysfunction. I see extreme tension within the leadership of Family Promise,” Lukasevich said.
He noted that there is an acting director.
“And after meeting her, and other women who are advocating for this, I was very confident that this was going to move forward.”
He did, however, express reservations about the plan at this stage. “So until there’s continuity and leadership, until there’s passion for it, I can’t move forward in promoting or advocating for these funds,” he said. he declared.
Nothstein, who cast the only vote in favor of the grant, defended the organization.
“There is a turnover like everywhere else. They’re non-profit, so they can’t afford the big bucks,” he said.
Family Promise of Carbon County was formed in 2009. It was based on South Third Street in Lehighton before moving to its current location.
Marta Gouger contributed to this report.