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Posted: 05/14/14


TOUGH TIMES

The Samaritan House's 2013 annual reports shows expenditures over revenue by $15,136. Employees of the non-profit say fewer grant dollars are skewing the numbers and are the main cause of the overage, which is expected to carry over into the 2014 year.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Samaritan House
experiences $15K deficit

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      The latest report from the Samaritan House reveals fewer grant dollars have caused a deficit situation.
       According to the non-profit organization's 2013 report, expenses exceeded revenues by $15,136, causing cutbacks to maintain its services.
       Samaritan House provides low-income families and individuals in northern Macomb County with food and shelter assistance. It is financially supported by 15 local churches, grants and donations and operates with three employees and volunteers.
       Pamela Zendt, executive director, said the biggest loss came from the non-profit community in general receiving fewer grants from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
       "It's a pattern that we've been watching, we're not the only ones affected," she said. "Macomb County itself is down 50 percent in FEMA allocations."
       Grants saw a large decrease from $76,975 in 2012 to $43,939 in 2013. Zendt said the numbers are sometimes skewed because grants are factored into the budget when they arrive.
       "It's like getting a bonus six months ahead of when you expect it," she said. "If a big grant comes in and we weren't expecting that money yet, it goes into that fiscal year."
       To respond to the grant troubles, the Samaritan House created a development coordinator position two years ago. The decision appears to have paid off, as funding from the sponsoring churches increased by just over $4,200 to $31,364. Fundraising also saw a slight increase from $50,011 to $52,056.
       Private donations, however, dipped by $15,293 for a total of $88,572 in the 2013 fiscal year.
       Even so, Zendt said she expects the deficit situation to carry into the 2014 year, so the organization is making cost-cutting measures and looking at new fundraisers, such as a cookbook and fashion show.
       "It's not that we're disappointed in last year, but we're looking to the future with a real positive attitude," she said.
       Overall expenses for the Samaritan House were $701,122 for the 2013 year, down from last year's $724,261.
       Program expenses rose from $134,792 to $138,567, which fund client services and the Sharing Tree. On the other hand, expenses for administration and building and grounds decreased by $1,572. Other expenses such as annual dues increased, but operational expenses as a whole went down by $2,386.
       Total cash expenses were $231,164 for 2013, up from last year's total of $229,775.
       In-kind donations saw an overall decrease from the 2012 year, going from $494,486 to $469,958. These are donations of goods, volunteer service and Sharing Tree contributions that directly benefit clients.
      
Service numbers

       Samaritan House's assistance programs saw a mix of increases and declines from the past year.
       For its food program, 2,724 requests for groceries were filled, equating to 7,068 individuals having three meals a day for two weeks. This is a slight decrease from the 2011-12 figure of 2,761.
       The shelter program spent $3,740 to assist 16 households with financial assistance to avoid eviction. Last year, 14 households used this assistance at $4,037.
       The utility program, designed to keep gas, water and electrical services from shutting down, helped 19 households for $2,911. In 2012, 26 households were helped at an expense of $5,367.
       Thanks to an email distribution program called e-Care, Samaritan House provided 66 individuals with clothing valued at $4,800. Last year, 93 individuals had clothing requests filled at a value of $10,497.
       Miscellaneous needs, such as water well pumps, repairs to dwellings and medical were tracked at $1,382 for 33 people.
       The Samaritan House works with the community to provide gifts and other items to clients throughout the year. The Sharing Tree program provided 1,404 individuals with 2,252 gifts during the Christmas holidays, including members at five senior citizen homes.
       This is 200 more individuals than the previous year but was an 11 percent decrease in the amount of gifts given. Expenses for the program were $5,297.
       "I think the Sharing Tree did a great, great job in working with us and staying in budget," Zendt said. "We were excited that so many people in the area support that program."
       The Back-to-School program provided 291 backpacks full of school supplies and a Payless Shoe gift card to students in August 2013. Excess supplies were donated to local schools.
       Thanks to a partnership with the Accounting Aid Society, the Samaritan House provided state and federal tax income preparation at no charge to 203 people, resulting in $342,000 in returns.
      


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