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Wednesday, May 2, 2012 - 12:19pm

Homeless Authority Stands By Director

Officials who oversee millions of dollars in public money for Savannah's homeless services are blaming unpaid insurance payments on chronic underfunding.

The Savannah Homeless Authority board Wednesday voted to keep its top leadership -- even after the city's chief executive, Rochelle Small-Toney, threatened to cut off funding to the agency.

Board chairman Larry Lee says, the agency can account for every cent and will keep its director, Mark Baggett.

"The truth is, the authority's always short on money," Lee says. "And decisions have to be made whether to put money in this account or that account. And that was the issue with the city. Money that should have been sent to the insurance fund of the city instead got spent to keep the lights on."

The Homeless Authority receives about $3 million in federal aid, much of it administered by the City of Savannah.

At stake are city-funded programs for residents threatened with eviction or foreclosure.

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