CITY OF SANFORD: Council makes no move to shore up HAVEN

Sep. 26, 2013 @ 08:29 AM

Sanford City Council members took no action to provide emergency funding to HAVEN in Lee County — which needs nearly $6,100 by Friday to prevent the seizure of its 29-bed shelter — during a specially called meeting Wednesday.

After spending more than an hour in closed session at the end of its Law and Finance Committee meeting, the council moved into the specially called meeting, where Councilman Rebecca Wyhof asked City Attorney Susan Patterson to explain the city's policy for funding nonprofits.

Nonprofits seeking funds from the city must complete an application process, Patterson said.

"The application required nonprofits to provide certain information about why they are requesting the funds and background with regard to their eligibility," she said.

Those applications are available in the city clerk's office, Patterson said. The meeting then shifted to comments from council members without any action being taken to fund HAVEN, which ceased most of its domestic violence victim services, including closing its shelter, in mid-August after a string of managerial and financial woes.

HAVEN's Board of Directors Chairman Carol Carlson, who was present during the meeting, said she'd thought the city had the bulk of the information it needed and that a group of community leaders, including council members, had worked in recent weeks to reorganize HAVEN and to implement stringent oversight measures.

Sanford Mayor Cornelia Olive confirmed the city would not be giving any money to the organization before Friday but said HAVEN is a wonderful organization that is sorely needed within the community.

"It has been addressing a need, a screaming need," she said.

Councilman Samuel Gaskins said he hoped private donations would carry HAVEN through Friday.

The $6,100 is needed to prevent the foreclosure process on HAVEN's Bracken Street property, and $34,000 is needed in the immediate future to cover priority expenses including preventing foreclosure, unemployment insurance, utility bills, audit fees and loans.

People can make a donation to HAVEN by mailing a check to P.O. Box 3191, Sanford, N.C., 27331.

In other matters, council:

* Temporarily closed Maple Avenue between Market and Third streets for an outside community meal for the Bread of Life Ministries. The street will be closed from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 5.

* Established a no-parking zone on the east side of Woodland Avenue between West Main Street and West Globe Street.

* Approved a budget amendment of $21,050 to demolish five buildings, located at 619 Washington Ave., 623 Washington Ave., 913 Oddfellow St., 615 Magnolia St. and 1005 Goldsboro Ave. The cost was more than originally anticipated because asbestos was discovered at the Magnolia Street address.

* Canceled its meeting for Oct. 1.