Nimby Assessment

Funding Barriers Case Study

Project Background

A Better Community, Inc. (ABC), is a not-for-profit community mental health agency located in a small city in a mostly suburban county. The organization plans to purchase from the county a vacant apartment building with four two-bedroom units that was recently foreclosed on for non-payment of taxes. The agency would use the site to provide permanent supportive housing and support services to single adults with mental illnesses who are making the transition from large private board and care homes located throughout the county. These facilities are scheduled to be closed within a year.

ABC has received a preliminary commitment of funding from the state office of homeless assistance to purchase and renovate the building, and the state mental health agency will provide a grant to cover property operating expenses. Services will be funded through the state's newly expanded Medicaid Rehab option, which includes a 20 percent county share, and which requires a contract with the county mental health board.

Project Challenge

Before the state will grant final approval for capital funds for the project, ABC must obtain a complete feasibility study, and the cost estimates for purchase and rehabilitation must fall below specific caps established by the state division of the budget.

While the feasibility study was being finalized, the apartment building was subject to arson and vandalism, resulting in extensive interior damage to all of the apartments. An anonymous note left at the scene made it clear that the intent of the vandals was to scare off the agency. Unfortunately, the cost of the extra repairs puts the total development budget over the funding caps, and as the property's title was in limbo, there was no insurance coverage. Additionally, an ad hoc group of neighbors has enlisted the support of their state senator to try to prevent the state office of homeless assistance from funding the project, claiming that the violence will escalate and put the whole neighborhood in jeopardy. They are also mobilizing support within the county legislature to void the agency's purchase option for the site, and block approval for Medicaid funding.

Items to Consider

To assess the conditions facing ABC, Inc., and to properly guide its decisions about how to proceed, it is essential to consider the following factors.

Click on each of the factors above to learn more.

To select the course of action commensurate with your organization's tolerance for risk, click on the link below:

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