Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Sally Delta Goin
Lynchburg, VA - A decision cast Tuesday could mean less money for certain Lynchburg not-for-profits. The debate was what to do with Community Development Block grants. Traditionally, the money went to non-profits doing social services work - Tuesday's vote changed that.
The money will go toward improving inner city infrastructure instead of social work. That means money for organizations that fix up, for example, dilapidated homes and street lights.
The mayor works for a social work non-profit -- an organization that was eligible for the grant money before Tuesday's decision. She said voting against social work organizations like her own was a vote she gave a lot of thought. But, she says, improving the look of a neighborhood can be just as beneficial to morale as the social work.
"When you fix up and take off those boards off the windows, and you fix the windows, you clean up that neighborhood, the element in it that was tearing at it, that was crime ridden or drug ridden, they'll usually leave," said Lynchburg Mayor Joan Foster.
But this was a 5-2 vote. Not everyone on council agreed the money should be moved. One council member worries if social service organizations lose the grant money, the council won't help with money from the general fund.
"When everyone is fighting for a limited amount of dollars, I just don't think the council as a whole, having some conservative leanings, are going to be willing to dip into the general fund," said Ceasor Johnson, Lynchburg council member.
This grant money isn't leaving social work non-profits just yet. Council voted to eliminate the funding over 2 fiscal seasons.
We heard mixed reaction from non-profits that stand to lose money as a result of Tuesday's vote. Amazement Square said they were disappointed, but Camp Kum-Ba-Yah said not having the funding will force non-profits to work more closely together. As a non-profit employee, Mayor Foster agreed.