The Portland City Council unanimously approved the acting city manager’s recommendation Monday for distributing nearly $1.9 million in federal money known as Community Development Block Grants.

The approval came over the objections of the nonprofit Portland Community Health Clinic, which provides health care for the homeless. The city’s grant allocation committee had recommended giving $90,000 to the clinic, but acting City Manager Sheila Hill-Christian eliminated that funding in favor of other priorities.

Victoria Foley, a board member for the clinic, said it serves 2,000 patients, of whom more than 585 receive General Assistance. Foley said the clinic serves 500 people seeking asylum in the U.S., half of whom are children.

Foley was upset that Hill-Christian eliminated the funding recommended by the committee.

“It’s really upsetting to receive nothing. We’re also disappointed with the circumvention of the process,” Foley said. “Clearly, the need is very, very great.”

Nationally, Community Development Block Grant funding dropped 1.3 percent, according to a memo to councilors from the allocation committee.

Community groups file formal applications for funding. The applications are reviewed by a committee of residents, which recommends funding levels. The city manager has the authority to change those recommendations, which ultimately have to be reviewed by the council. Hill-Christian re-appropriated $200,000 in funding recommended by the committee.

The city’s homeless shelters are under scrutiny by the state. In response to an audit released in February, the city will begin checking the financial eligibility of everyone staying at its shelters. That is expected to increase demand for community-based service, since some people may be turned away from the shelters.

Hill-Christian said she focused on providing food and shelter to those in need, and funding child care, the latter of which is a City Council priority.

Hill-Christian reduced the Economic Development Department’s Business Assistance program by $50,000 (33 percent); Community Housing of Maine’s Supportive Housing program by a $40,000 (16 percent); and bike parking in East Bayside, Munjoy Hill, Libbytown and Parkside neighborhoods by $10,000 (59 percent).

She increased funding in several other categories: $150,000 (409 percent) for the city’s Greenleaf Street reconstruction project; $40,000 (previously unfunded) for pedestrian safety near Reiche Elementary School; $41,720 (previously unfunded) for Amistad’s Peer Coaching initiative; and $48,126 (previously unfunded) for the Catherine Morrill Day Nursery.

The council also approved more than $1 million federal HOME funds and a nearly $162,000 Emergency Solutions grant.

The council deadlocked 4-4 over a proposal to change the federal grant program to prioritize child care by adding 3 bonus points for those services. Councilor David Marshall was absent and the proposal will be taken up again at the next meeting.

Several councilors, including the mayor, objected to recommendation.

“Picking one particular category for bonus points is problematic,” said Mayor Michael Brennan. “I’m going to have a hard time voting this as a result.”

Councilor David Brenerman said child care has always been a council priority, and is needed to allow parents to work.

“We want people to work and not just receive assistance,” Brenerman said. “And one of the best ways to get people to work is to help them with care for their children.”

Councilors Edward Suslovic, Justin Costa, Brennan and Duson opposed the proposal.

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