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Councilwoman Donna Frye today called on Mayor Jerry Sanders to restore $465,000 from the 2008 budget to fund the Winter Homeless Shelter while other funds are located.

She suggested using the money as a matching fund to entice philanthropists to donate and create a permanent shelter location with those funds.

From a release:

I am asking the Mayor to please withdraw his veto and keep the Homeless Winter Shelter funding in the 2008 budget, at least until other City funds are identified. If we expect others to commit to helping solve this problem, we must first make our own commitment. I am dedicated to helping solve this problem and raising funds, however, it is much easier to do that if I can assure people that our City will match their contribution up to a total of $465,000.

The mayor vetoed the item when signing the 2008 budget yesterday, saying the cash-strapped city should find the funds for the shelter from other sources rather than its day-to-day operating budget.

Sanders sent out a statement later in the day:

I do not believe that we should raid our City’s critical General Fund reserves to fund the shelter. That’s why I vetoed the Council’s proposal to move $465,000 from the reserve to the shelter program this year.

During the budget process, I proposed to fully fund the Homeless Winter Shelter for this year using the Community Development Block Grant monies. The Council chose not to do that. My budget still includes more than $200,000 in funding drawn from the Citywide CDBG funds I set aside for the shelter program.

Organizers say the shelter housed 216 homeless people a night and more than 1,500 with housing, food and support during the season.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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