|Toilet placed at ARCHES Nov 22 2017|
According to one of the Arta Potties originators, Rebecca Maitland Courtney, despite discounts from ACE Chemical and the support of downtown businesses, there were just too few owners willing to allow a toilet to be placed on their property to make the program work, resulting in overuse, misuse and vandalism of the two or three toilets that were in operation. She says the City was also unwilling to allow a toilet on City property.
|Tables and fencing under the bridge, courtesy Parks Department|
HUD announced recently that it will be funding MWVCAA's Rapid Rehousing program for yet another year (about $389K) through its Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. (For a description of MWVCAA's RRH program, see here at 30.) HUD will also fund Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network's (SIHN's) family self- sufficiency program (about $152K) (described below and here at 33). Total 2017 CoC Program dollars going to Marion and Polk County projects/programs = $743,673 (including Shangri-La's usual $202K grant), up from $579,075 awarded last year.
Since 2012, local homeless assistance programs have been forced to compete and collaborate with those 26 counties over federal funding and administrative issues, which, unsurprisingly, has not improved the delivery of local homeless services.
Last year, elected officials from Salem and Marion and Polk Counties began talking about reforming the local CoC (separating from the BOS CoC, aka "Rural Oregon Continuum of Care" or ROCC) [see here (10/30/16 Un-merger, Expansion, Revision), (12/29/16 ROCC: Leave or Remain?), here (1/26/17 ROCC v. Maximum Feasible Participation), here (3/1/17 Letter to CANDO re ROCC Leave/Remain), here (5/9/17 Outreach Report), here (5/6/17 Community Action Makes Agenda Clear) here (5/10/17 Shangri-La: CoC Capacity Has Not Changed), here (5/24/17 HUD Seeks to Ease Tensions Within the ROCC) and in the following News from the Continuum blogs here, here, here, and and here], causing panic and heartburn in those who stood to lose (mainly MWVCAA, Shangri-La and the ROCC coordinator).
A very cynical observer might conclude that ROCC's decision to support giving $150K to the previously unsupported SIHN family self-sufficiency project/program in this last competition was meant as an enticement to keep Salem and Marion and Polk Counties within the ROCC.
The most detailed report to date on the City's Homeless Rental Assistance Program came out last week in connection with a City Council work session on budget priorities (see "Strategic Plan HRAP Action Update"). More recent figures provided in a report to the monthly meeting of the Health and Housing Workgroup (formerly sponsored by WVCH, and now by Salem Health) were that 41 are enrolled, 22 have been housed and 14 have been deemed ineligible (including 3 registered sex offenders, 2 "too fragile to live independently", 2 who've died and 3 who can't be located, among them Vincent, the "shopping-cart train" guy, who reportedly left town after a run-in with SPD). Probably one or two more will have been housed by the time this is published. The pace has definitely picked up.
|Sobering Center Plan Circled in Blue|
|Salem's SC expected to cost >2x more|
Mayor Bennett is in the process of appointing his "Downtown Homeless Solutions Task Force" (born out of the failure of the "sit-lie" ordinance last fall), to be chaired by Councilor Kaser and staffed by UDD Director Kristin Retherford. A total of three meetings are planned, tentatively scheduled for February 7 and 28, and March 7 from 6 to 7:30 pm. According to Retherford, Task Force membership will be a blend of advocates, service providers, residents, businesses, and property owners. It's "scope" will be
[T]o address behavioral issues and propose solutions related to the specific impacts that homelessness is having on downtown vibrancy and livability, including issues such as trash and litter, abandoned property, health and hygiene, and other behaviors that impact perceptions of safety. Our downtown should be an inviting and welcoming home to all of Salem’s residents, and a place where the rights and needs of customers, visitors, individuals experiencing homelessness, residents, business owners, and property owners are addressed equitably.
|From the October 2017 DAB Meeting Minutes|