Non-profit gets budget cut despite city's $18M surplus

Non-profit gets budget cut despite city's $18M surplus

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The city of Cincinnati says money wise-they are in good shape. City manager Harry Black sent a memo to city council showing an $18 million budget surplus, which is a lot more than the 4 million they estimated. But now, a few non-profit agencies are wondering why their budgets are getting cut.

One of those agencies is called People Working Cooperatively. They are a non-profit group that has kept low income Cincinnati families in their homes for nearly 40 years by making much needed home repairs.

Janet Rabenstein of Harrison says her husband has been wheelchair bound for a few years.

"He can't raise his legs to get down the steps or anything. He had to have people help him," said Rabenstein.

Thursday People Working Cooperatively and a group of UPS volunteers showed up at their home to build a ramp making getting in and out of their home much easier.

"It was probably around a quarter to nine or something like that and they just started putting it together. They were great," said Rabenstein.

"These are folks with very low incomes and they can't afford home repairs and we make those kind of emergency repairs to allow them to stay in their homes," said Jock Pitts, President of People Working Cooperatively (PWC).

Pitts says over the last year his organization as made free home repairs to more than 2,000 homes in Cincinnati increasing home values by roughly 10 percent and thus the city's tax base by nearly $1.2 million.

"Now, with $150,000 cut to PWC's budget, that is a $450,000 loss to the city of Cincinnati," said Pitt.

The city tells FOX19 NOW though they do have an $18 million budget surplus, they are forced to cut some funding to organizations like PWC due to a shrinking Community Development Block Grant, which is federal money that is spread out each year to nearly two dozen local competitive programs.

It's money PWC says folks Janet can't afford to lose.

"It means he can get out and go to the doctors and stuff. I think it's a life saver," said Rabenstein.

The city says its surplus is in the general fund and those funds cannot be transferred to cover Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) expenditures.

If the city goes through with the cut, PWC says that means roughly 300 low income homeowners won't receive vital repairs to keep them in their homes this winter.

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