Q I APPLIED WITH the Belmont Shelter Corp. on or about July 30 for housing.
About a week later, I was told by one of their intake coordinators that I was on two of their lists -- one in the two-bedroom category and a higher-priority "homeless" list. I was told I was No. 187 on the first list and it could take anywhere from six months to a year and a half or more before something would come up for me. They said I was No. 48 on the second list but they didn't know when funding or an apartment might become available.
In August, on several occasions, I called for further information. I began getting conflicting information. I spoke with several persons and asked them to call Belmont on my behalf. On Oct. 22, a Belmont spokesman contacted the person I am staying with (who I had just met a few days before) and told her that even though they had just pulled 40 names from the two-bedroom category list, I was now bumped to No. 200 on the list because other applicants had become "priority" applicants.
I called that spokesman back the very next day and was given the same information. However, when I asked her to check my file again she said, amazingly, that I was now 97 on the list instead of 200. She then said I would have a wait of another month or two.
I've been calling weekly since then to check on my status and now I'm being told it will be another year's wait. I am pregnant and now have no place to live. I've been staying for brief periods of time with various Right to Life families.
I'm still willing to play by the rules but would just like to get a straight answer from them. How and when does funding become available?
Is there such a thing as funding for the homeless? Can you do anything to help straighten out this bureaucracy?
A WE ASKED FOR a straight answer from the Belmont Shelter Corp. on your status with the Erie County Renter Assistance Program and their waiting list for rental assistance.
Ellen Wells, acting housing program manager for Belmont, tells us: "She applied for rental assistance on Aug. 9. In 1990, we implemented a homeless housing initiative by setting aside a pool of housing vouchers for homeless applicants only. Unfortunately, all of these vouchers are in use.
"Because she was homeless when she applied, she was placed on both the general waiting list and on the homeless waiting list. The confusion about her status is due in part to the fact that she is on two separate lists. We regret that confusion. However, we maintain two lists to ensure the greatest number of opportunities for rental assistance for clients who are homeless at the time of application.
"With regard to her complaint that her waiting list number has changed, applicants, unfortunately, still do not include all pertinent information when they first apply. As you pointed out in a column you wrote some years ago, it is still our policy not to force applicants to reapply solely because they have misunderstood our application or have inadvertently omitted important information which affects their eligibility. When we learn of such errors, we correct the application and the applicant's status on the waiting list.
"One thing has changed dramatically in the size of the waiting list. There are now 5,708 families and individuals waiting for rental assistance.
"I hope this information will help her understand her status. We can certainly appreciate her frustration and concern. We only regret that we cannot help her and all our other applicants immediately."