MILWAUKEE – Members of the Finance and Audit Committee reiterated their support for fully funding emergency homeless shelters today and repeatedly reminded representatives of County Executive Abele’s administration that the County Board did not cut any funds for emergency shelter services in the 2018 budget.
During a lengthy discussion about contracts for agencies that provide emergency homeless shelter services, Milwaukee County Supervisors rejected Abele administration claims that contracts should be reduced by $200,000 in 2018.
“I’m very pleased that the Interim Director of the Department of Health and Human Services came to the table willing to work with the County Board today. I commend Interim Director Dorff for her commitment to restoring the emergency shelter contracts to their full amounts in 2018, and to manage all the department’s spending responsibly. Further, I recognize Finance Chair Peggy West for her tireless advocacy on this issue, listening to the public and working for an effective solution,” said Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr.
The County Board has rejected previous attempts by the Abele administration to cut homeless shelter funding. County Executive Abele repeatedly proposed cutting emergency shelter funding by $300,000, and each time, the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors restored Abele’s cuts, returning the emergency shelter funding to $718,000.
Prior to 2014, Milwaukee County’s funding for emergency shelters and housing had been level for approximately a decade, at about $418,000. Despite the expected loss of federal funds for 2014, County Executive Abele did not include additional funding for shelters in his 2014 budget proposal. County Board amendments to the 2014, 2015, and 2016 budget provided an additional $300,000 for shelter funding, increasing the total to $718,000 each year.
The Finance and Audit committee adopted an amendment today to establish that the 2018 budget includes level funding for emergency shelters of $718,000.