By Jamie Brewer
Ingham County Chronicle
MASON, Michigan—Ingham County Board of Commissioners voted ‘no’ at the Feb. 24 meeting declining to grant Habitat for Humanity an opportunity to resubmit an application for the remaining allocated money for non-profit organizations.
Ingham County allocates $200,000 to non-profit community agencies that provide food, shelter, clothing or other basic human needs. In October the county allocated most of the money to organizations, with $1,250 left over. The board invited Habitat for Humanity to give it the opportunity to apply for the remaining funds.
Commissioner Brian McGrain wanted to find out a way to include Habitat for Humanity.
“I wanted to give them an opportunity,” McGrain said. “A lot of these agencies tell us year after year that they’re really dependent on the small amount of money we’re able to give them.”
The application Habitat for Humanity submitted to be granted the remaining money was to help pay for a vehicle.
“The proposal they put forward to us was deemed not to, while they were an organization we funded in the past, fit human needs,” McGrain said.
Commissioners agreed the issue was concerning because the initial application did not fit the application requirements.
“We are now allowing them to re-do their application, and it sets a bad precedent that in the future if another agency submits a grant application and does not conform, are we going to give them the same opportunity to resubmit the application in conformity of our requirements?” Commissioner Bryan Crenshaw said.
A main concern at the meeting was that this was unfair to other organizations.
“There is another agency who requested funding at the same time and we decided to not give them the same opportunity to resubmit,” Commissioner Rebecca Bahar-Cook said. “I’m very uncomfortable with that, it doesn’t pass my small test and I will not be supporting this resolution.”
Representatives from Habitat for Humanity were invited to an earlier meeting to discuss some of the challenges they had but were unable to attend, according to Commissioner Sarah Anthony.
“Therefore we really felt uncomfortable taking any action to the resolution we had at this time,” Anthony said.
Bahar-Cook, who donates personally to Habitat for Humanity, said, “It’s nothing against Habitat. I think they are a fantastic organization.”
The board was directed by its attorney that the demands did not fit their requirements.
“They sent something to us that wasn’t determined to meet basic human needs. So tonight the board said that just wasn’t part of the process,” McGrain said.