News - Joliet and Will County

Daybreak Center seeks funding from Joliet

Says HUD is pulling back $250,000 in federal funding

The Daybreak Center on Thursday, June 2, 2016 in Joliet, Ill.

Daybreak Center is seeking help from Joliet as it deals with a cut in federal funding for homeless shelters.

“Quite frankly, we are asking for your financial support,” Glenn Van Cura, executive director for Catholic Charities, said to the Joliet City Council at its meeting Tuesday.

Van Cura did not put a number on the request but said Daybreak Center is losing $250,000 because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is moving funding from shelters to support programs that develop affordable housing.

“We have a year to work on this,” Van Cura said. “We don’t want you to modify your current budget.”

Daybreak Center is one of two Joliet shelters that provide emergency housing for homeless people. The other is MorningStar Mission.

Van Cura said the future of homeless shelters is threatened by the reduction in HUD support.

“Catholic Charities in Chicago closed six of its seven family shelters for lack of funding,” he said. Two more in Kankakee operated by The Salvation Army have closed, he said.

Daybreak Center, which opened in 1993, is an operation of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Joliet. The diocese contributes $1.2 million a year to Catholic Charities, which is used for Daybreak and other programs, Van Cura said.

City Council members were sympathetic to Daybreak Center’s need. They did not make a firm commitment, but some said the shelter’s needs should be considered in next year’s budget.

“I think we need to hopefully ask the city manager to see what funding we can find,” council member Michael Turk said.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk asked Van Cura to provide an update by early fall before the city begins working on its budget.

Van Cura noted that the city previously provided Daybreak Center $240,000 a year in support before the funding was eliminated in 2011.

The city funded several nonprofit agencies when it shared casino tax revenue. The revenue-sharing program was ended when the city became more dependent on casino money as other revenues plunged in the recession.

Bob Okon

Bob Okon

Bob Okon covers local government for The Herald-News