Homeless shelter acting fast before grant money disappears

Local shelters are taking a hit following $20 million in state budget cuts for homeless prevention programs.

But before the funds are gone, Brownsville city leaders are urging those in need to take advantage now. In 2009, the Ozanam Homeless Shelter in Brownsville received $1.3 million to help the needy with housing.

There are still funds left and city leaders want to award it to those in need before the program ends this summer.

Homeless director Rosemary Garza said although the economic situation is improving, figures showed that the numbers of homeless people or those on the brink of homelessness actually increased from 2010 to 2011.

Garza said the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Grant expires in July and any funds not used by then will be sent back to Washington DC.

Those who need assistance with a deposit and rent for their own place or are behind on their rent can apply for the funds.

"In the past homeless programs were geared more toward lets re-house them if they're homeless less put them in a shelter, said Garza. The homeless prevention program is geared more towards stabilization we want to catch people before they experience a time of homelessness"

Those that qualify for the funds will have to attend classes to learn about budgeting and fiscal responsibility before they are awarded the money for their rent.

Click here to read more about the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program