United Way rescues Ferry Street CenterPublished 2:55pm Sunday, July 15, 2012
United Way of Southwest Michigan came to Ferry Street Resource Center’s rescue Friday with a $10,500 grant to carry it through the summer.
A change in the timing of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding would have forced the center to close until funding resumed this fall.
Ferry Street Resource Center, 620 Ferry St., provides summer activities and lunches for children, adult basic education classes, a computer lab and serves as client liaison for Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS).
“We see 300 a month,” Director Lisa Busby said. “We work with Michigan State University Extension for nutrition classes” to take advantage of the community garden across the street. “We serve Niles Charter Township, Buchanan and Galien.”
“Services provided by Ferry Street Resource Center are vital,” said United Way of Southwest Michigan President Anna Murphy. “Our United Way volunteers were glad to be able to offer this funding to maintain uninterrupted services. It’s times like these when we realize the importance of United Way’s presence in the Niles community. We went to the groundbreaking for Tyler Honda up in Stevensville and ran into (state Sen.) John (Proos). He mentioned he had talked to Diane (Bass, the Resource Center board president, as well as executive assistant to City Administrator Ric Huff). It fits perfectly with what United Way does under the basic needs category and is a good partnership. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I don’t know at what level, but I think it’s an opportunity for a continued partnership. We bring in funding partners every three years,” and that cycle just started.
Murphy added, “It’s an economical investment for us because they do so much with resources they get.”
Ferry Street Resource Center operates primarily through a portion of Niles’ HUD entitlement grant, which for 2012-13 is projected to be $39,000.
Niles asked HUD to align the grant’s fiscal year with the city’s for accounting purposes, Bass said.
The change meant that this year when annual funds ran out at the end of June, the center would lack access to operational money until the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
“We are so grateful United Way was able to bridge this funding gap for us,” Bass said. “Without these funds, we couldn’t operate during the summer months when neighborhood children need us most.”