People Working Cooperatively could see 76 percent budget cut

SHARONVILLE, Ohio -- A nonprofit that makes home improvement repairs for low-income families could lose $500,000 next year if Hamilton County Commissioners approve a budget cut. 

People Working Cooperatively could see a 76 percent budget cut under the 2018 HUD Action Plan, which outlines the County’s proposed budgets for grants and programs. Potential cuts were discussed at the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners meeting Wednesday afternoon. 

County officials say reduced federal funding and a competitive bidding process has prompted them to consider how money is given to nonprofits.

People Working Cooperatively serves low-income communities and homeowners who have disabilities across 20 counties in the Tri-State.

Vernon and Louise Brown have experienced the nonprofit’s work firsthand; they recently helped the Browns install a water heater in their home. 

"We had went out and checked on some in the stores and priced them but they were just outrageous … and it wasn't no time that they were out here with it,” Louise Brown said. 

Community Development Administrator Joy Pierson said the county has to consider cuts to the nonprofit because the process for allocating block grant money has significantly changed. 

“So frankly we were funding the same agencies year after year after year,” Pierson said. “And for over thirty years PWC has received $665,000 or more from the HUD grant."
 
People Working Cooperatively President Jock Pitts urged the board not to cut funding. 
 
"The government funds are core,” Pitts said. “They combine with private funding, businesses grants, foundations, some of the volunteers and charitable dollars you heard about this morning. I've mentioned that some dollars can be more important it's just so true these dollars make the other dollars function."
 
Todd Portune, president of the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, said the board would make decisions as it has in the past. 
 
"In terms of all the competing agencies, we can't say we open it up for bids, but we're still going to make decisions the way we made them in the past,” Portune said. “That's not a good faith competitive process, and that naturally is going to have an impact on prior funding recipients.” 
 
Funding will be discussed again Jan. 8, and a decision will be made Jan. 10 at the commissioner's next public meeting. 

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