Show them the money

Time is running out for the Neighborhood Service Organization’s 24-hour walk-in center. If the city of Detroit does not come up with funding fast, the nonprofit agency will be forced to cut back on staff and hours — which may have devastating effects for the city’s most vulnerable population, according to NSO officials.

NSO, which provides temporary shelter for about 300 homeless people a day, as well as programs for substance abusers, the poor and mentally ill, is short about $250,000. Normally, the Detroit Health Department provides about $550,000 of the group’s $875,000 annual budget. But according to Bill Weld-Wallis, NSO’s director of community programs, the Health Department only promised about $300,000 this fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. To offset the lost funding, Weld-Wallis says that NSO intended to cut back its 24-hour service to 14 hours a day. But they nixed this plan — at least for another month — in hopes of getting more funding from the city. City Council president pro tem Maryann Mahaffey is working with NSO and city officials, who will meet this week about finding money for the group.

“If we don’t get this funding,” says Weld-Wallis, “a lot of people will be hurt.”

And somewhere, somebody said, for about the millionth time, why is it the Archer administration can keep coming up with these multimillion-dollar subsidies for sports teams and casino operators and computer software giants, but can’t find a relative pittance to improve life for this city’s poorest residents?

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]
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