|The Prevailing Image of Homelessness|
The Statesman Journal reported yesterday on the Mayor's hopes for the forming regional task force on homelessness, to be called the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative.
"As we move forward, I'd like to see a greater coordination in our region," said Salem Mayor Anna Peterson. "I'd like to see us find new resources and be able to meet the needs for affordable and low-income housing, and find ways to address the emergency needs that people are experiencing,"
New resources to meet the need for affordable and low-income housing sounds great. The deficit in Salem is 6,400 units.
But compare "find ways to address the emergency needs that people are experiencing" with what the Mayor and Council told HUD last spring:
|2015-2019 Consolidated Plan at 137|
Note: the Mid-Valley Housing and Services Collaborative no longer exists. Before 2011, that entity ran Marion and Polk Counties' CoC. But in 2011, MWVCAA failed a HUD audit, and, to "relieve" MWVCAA from having to deal directly with HUD, Marion and Polk Counties' CoC merged with the Rural Oregon CoC, and remains today. When the merger occurred, the Emergency Housing Network, a subcommittee of the now defunct Mid-Valley Housing and Services Collaborative became Salem's primary housing and social services network. This network is managed by the Salem Housing Authority and meets the second Thursday of each month at UGM.
Last spring, the Mayor and Council told HUD they had a pretty good idea what they needed to do:
|2015-2019 Consolidated Plan at 150|
Why go back to the drawing board?
"I want to identify areas, projects or programs that aren't working as effectively as they need to be, stop any waste that is occurring, and redirect those funds and those activities," Peterson said.
Each of the four jurisdictions will select up to five members to serve on a task force that will "identify resources to address the issues facing persons experiencing homelessness," according to a City Council meeting report.
This is just depressing. Marion and Polk County are 7 years in to the 10-year plan to end homelessness, and they're just now setting up a task force to "identify resources"?
"There's quite a network of federal, state and local funds, private foundations and investments," Peterson said. "The goal of the initiative is to find those funds."
Really? We need an initiative to find funds? Isn't that something folks who care about poverty and housing just do in the normal course of business?
"I'm excited about the opportunity for the four jurisdictions to collaborate. This is another great example of leaders from these four areas saying, 'Hey, let's get together and combine our knowledge and resources and come up with solutions that work for our region,' " Peterson said.
It's like, dare we say it? It's like she hasn't read the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan. If she had, she'd know the four "jurisdictions" are already collaborating! Or, at least they're supposed to be. At least that's what HUD is being told.
We hate to say it, but it's evident from the Mayor's remarks to the Statesman Journal, if it wasn't already, that at least some of the leadership of this initiative are utterly clueless about all the regional efforts and programs, public and private, "dealing with" and providing for their impoverished constituents. That is, to say the least, very concerning, and must inform how we measure the initiative's "success."
Thanks to the Statesman Journal for being a great scrivener!