Financial assistance to be provided to HAVEN
The city of Bloomfield Hills will allocate about $7,000 worth of federal assistance funding it receives to HAVEN of Oakland County to help domestic violence and sexual assault victims, city commissioners unanimously decided at their meeting on Tuesday, December 10. The funds are part of the federal Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), which is administered through Oakland County and passed through to local communities to assist qualified seniors and low-to-moderate income residents. The objective of the program is to eliminate or prevent blight and meet urgent community needs where there is no other funding available. Bloomfield Hills Clerk Amy Burton said the city has participated in the program for at least a decade, and that it operates on a three-year funding cycle. She said the funds have traditionally been used to assist the Meals on Wheels program. However, as that program only assists two to four Bloomfield Hills residents each month, there remains a balance of about $7,000 of CDBG funds for 2020 that haven't been used. Further, Burton said federal guidelines preclude the city from providing two senior-assistance programs concurrently, meaning all of the 2019 Meals on Wheels funding must be used before 2020 funding can be used for another senior service. Burton recommended allocating the $7,000 available for 2020 programs to HAVEN of Oakland County, which provides programs, shelter and advocacy for domestic violence and sexual assault. HAVEN serves about 30,000 residents annually from communities throughout Oakland County. Sue Perlin, who serves on HAVEN's board of directors, said HAVEN provided services to 37 Bloomfield Hills residents in the 2018-19 budget year, totaling about $10,000 in services. "Anyone can be victimized," Perlin said. "All our services are free to survivors. Everyone knows we provide emergency shelter, but there is more." Perlin said HAVEN also provides forensic exams, counseling, operates a crisis and support line, operates a community resource program, assists with transitional housing and provides other services. She said the organization also has been working with local school districts to provide education to students and assist with prevention. She said CDBG funding would go directly to those programs mentioned. City commissioners unanimously approved the 2020 funding to HAVEN. Under the federal requirements, the Meals on Wheels funding will continue into 2020 or until all 2019 funds are used.