Grant Moratorium Hurting Local Charities

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

The state is temporarily withholding grant payments to some state-funded organizations. That may cause one local group to go into debt.

"Forty-five days is a long time to go hungry or not pay your bills," says Susan Shoultz, executive director of Eve Inc., a local battered women's shelter.

But that's the reality now for the charity, which houses the abused women and their families. The Governor has placed a 45-day moratorium on the money her organization, and others like it, need to survive.

"The money is there. It has our name on it. It's in a bank account, and we can't have it," Shoultz laments.

State and federal grants contribute $300,000 to Eve Inc.'s annual budget. That money is used for things like food, beds and counseling for the countless women the organization serves.

However, Budget Office Spokesman Greg Bird says the Governor has little other choice than to delay payments until the budget is figured out.

"We're certainly sympathetic with the individuals who are recipients of the grants," Bird says, "But this is one of the ways the state has to address the budget crisis and the cash flow crisis."

Even after the 45 days of the Governor's grant moratorium have expired, it's still unclear if organizations like Eve Incorporated will receive their funds.

"Some will, some may not," Bird says.

Organizations that fall under certain categories, like protecting the health and welfare of Michigan citizens, are most likely to get the funds. But nothing is set in stone.

"Our office is there to serve victims," Shoultz says.

But they can't help but feel like victims themselves, the latest to be hurt by the unanswered budget crisis.

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