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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2007

 

GOVERNOR BARBOUR ANNOUNCES TOTAL ALLOCATION OF SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDS

 

(Jackson, Mississippi) – Governor Haley Barbour today announced the full amount of $128 million in federal Social Services Block Grant monies has been allocated and will help many Mississippi families and supporting agencies continue their recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

 

The grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and funneled through the state Department of Human Services to a number of grantees that provide self-sufficiency, protection, maintenance, and other social services programs. In some cases monies have actually been delivered and in other cases final contracts are being executed as quickly as possible.

 

“The federal government has been a good partner in providing an array of financial assistance for Mississippians from all walks of life, people whose lives changed drastically on August 29, 2005,” Governor Barbour said. “This funding in the social services area is already having a positive impact as families continue to rebuild and recover.”

 

Recent SSBG award recipients include the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, which received $1 million for brick and mortar projects at Singing River Hospital Systems and Gulf Coast Mental Health Center. Since Hurricane Katrina, DMH has received about $29 million in SSBG and Project Recovery funds.

 

Other recent grant recipients include Project Relief, the Gulf Coast Women’s Center for Nonviolence, and YOUTHBUILD Americorps.

 

Under federal law, SSBG is a reimbursement program, meaning that DHS draws down money from the federal treasury after a grantee provides expense reports and other appropriate documentation. Program officials say some grantees have not been submitting the necessary reports to draw down the funds, and in the coming weeks, to follow up, letters will be sent to all grantees asking for a plan on how they intend to spend their money.

 

The time to spend the SSBG money was extended from Sept. 30, 2007, until Sept. 30, 2009, which gave program officials more time to evaluate how the remaining funds can best be utilized.

 

In addition to the SSBG funds, Mississippi received $22.7 million in Project Recovery monies. Under federal regulations, these funds could only be used for short-term crisis counseling; Governor Barbour is currently working to get approval to use the funds for additional mental health needs.

 

“Just as important as effectively allocating the SSBG money is ensuring that Mississippi doesn’t miss out on other assistance opportunities through programs like Project Recovery. I am working with members of our Congressional delegation, FEMA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to secure a reallocation of these funds for mental health programs in the state,” Governor Barbour said.

 

The following is a list of federal funds awarded or received by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health as a result of Hurricane Katrina:

 

• Immediate Services Program (Project Recovery), $2,821,610

 

• Regular Services Program (Project Recovery), $15,360,585

 

• Hurricane Katrina Social Services Block Grant, $10,926,039

 

• Supplemental Emergency Relief Grant, $450,000

 

• Suicide Prevention Grant, $400,000 per year for three years – total $1,200,000.