Ann Arbor DDA agrees to provide $218,050 for improvements to Delonis Center
The Delonis Center homeless shelter in downtown Ann Arbor will see $218,050 in upgrades soon, thanks to a grant from the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.
The DDA's governing board voted 10-0 today to approve the grant, giving a boost to the nonprofit Shelter Association of Washtenaw County's plans to make energy efficiency upgrades and improve service delivery to the local homeless population.
In a resolution of support, DDA officials called the Shelter Association an important downtown anchor and service provider. They said the temporary shelter and supportive services the organization provides through the Delonis Center help further the DDA's mission.
"I would point out also that it was within our policy of providing infrastructure improvements, and so that is what's being provided here," said DDA Chairwoman Joan Lowenstein.
The DDA's grant will fund five specific items:
- New washers and dryers, including maintenance — $30,000
- Lockers and chairs — $8,000
- Emergency generator — $60,000
- Water conservation/lighting/HVAC energy conservation measures — $84,050
- Medical equipment and software — $36,000
Mayor John Hieftje said the upgrades aren't going to end Ann Arbor's homeless problem, but they will make sure the shelter has the infrastructure and resources it needs. The money is coming out of the DDA's Housing Fund.
"This is in keeping very much with the work that the DDA has done in the past in collaboration with the city and the county to support the downtown shelter," said Hieftje, who serves on the DDA's governing board. "These infrastructure improvements are what we tend to concentrate on at the DDA, and it was right up our alley."
DDA officials said many of the clients served by the Shelter Association are in the downtown and receive medical attention, access to showers and washers and dryers, employment assistance and other services to help them get out of homelessness.
The Shelter Association still is seeking funding for other items identified in its capital improvement plan, including $98,210 for solar panels as an energy saving measure and $15,000 for computers enabling medical case managers to work offsite engaging individuals.
Also at today's meeting, DDA officials received a report showing the number of hourly patrons parking downtown has grown significantly over the last five years.
"You're seeing a really steady growth in our parking patrons," Hieftje said. "We have a rising number of people parking in the downtown, but at the same time the use of the go!pass is really expanding very much, and we're also seeing what we believe is a good-sized surge in the number of people bicycling in the downtown area, so demand for downtown is up."
The board today also received results of a recent bike parking count and cyclist survey, as well as a report showing parking revenues from August 2010 compared to August 2009. The report showed monthly revenues were down $13,638 from the year before, largely due to the closure of the Library Lot because of ongoing construction.
DDA board members Sandi Smith and Newcombe Clark were absent.