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The Local Agenda: Commissioners to partner with Gateway center on expansion
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Aiming to expand transitional housing for victims of domestic violence and their children, Gateway Domestic Violence Center is short about $500,000.

Hoping to get Gateway over the funding hump, Hall County government is stepping in to help.

No. The county, which will be looking for cuts for the upcoming budget process, is not opening its coffers to bankroll the difference. Instead, it has agreed to apply for a grant on Gateway’s behalf to raise the remaining sum.

After a vote from the Hall County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, Hall County will apply for a Community Development Block Grant on behalf of Gateway.

“This is definitely a great asset to our community,” Commissioner Ashley Bell said of Gateway. “And this is a very small role for the county. It’s the volunteers who have done all of the work.”

Gateway has plans to build a new facility with six duplexes as part of its transitional housing expansion. Those duplexes would provide sanctuary for clients who have left the program’s emergency shelter, but are still in need of housing as they transition into their new lives.

The victims and their children would live in the duplexes rent-free for six months. During that time, the women can get jobs and start saving money to become independent, said Jessica Butler, Gateway’s executive director.

The new housing would help about 36 women and children a year.

Gateway already has the land (donated by the Kiwanis Club) and housing plans from Habitat for Humanity, but is short the half-million dollars needed to begin the project.

“They’re ready to go,” said Jessica Robinson, Hall County’s grants manager. “All they need is the money.”

The grant, distributed through Georgia’s Department of Community Affairs, looks like a good fit for Gateway, said Robinson.

If Gateway wins the grant, Hall County would pay a $10,000 match and would own the completed buildings.
Gateway would lease them at no charge, but has also promised to maintain them, pay utility bills and cover insurance.

News on the grant is expected to come in July.

If successful, building could start in September and be completed in 2013.

Gainesville City Council starts budget preparation

City of Gainesville departments will be under the microscope in the coming weeks as Gainesville City Council hears budget presentations for the upcoming fiscal year.

After completing a two-day workshop last weekend with the Public Utilities Department, City Council will hear a report from Public Works Director David Dockery on Thursday.

Public Works has an extensive list of responsibilities including street and storm water infrastructure, traffic engineering, and solid waste and recycling service.

Aaron Hale covers government issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

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