Speaking of housing policy, we're pleased to report that the interim Affordable Housing Committee continues its work to develop affordable housing policies and strategies under the direction of the Salem Housing Authority (SHA), as directed by the Salem Housing Authority Board of Commissioners last December 2015, and that city staff have already begun implementing the Goal 10-related recommendations of the Salem MSA Housing Needs Analysis adopted in February by inventorying Salem's multi-family housing stock. An inventory might not seem too exciting, but any time you're wanting to change something, you need reliable numbers or you don't know what you're talking about, how to proceed, or how to measure progress.
|Yaquina Hall Front|
|Yaquina Hall Rear|
Great location and shape (U with a courtyard), within well-established neighborhoods and biking/walking/transit proximity to concentrated employment at government and health facilities, not to mention its proximity to the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA). But 37 units in a renovated building is probably not optimal from a purely economic standpoint. All options should be considered for this property. [10/29 Update: SHA set to acquire the property by year's end and will renovate. 3/4/17 Update: property has been acquired and funding is coming together.]
|ARCHES on Madison St SE|
Three groups of social service providers focused on area housing and homelessness continue to meet every second Thursday morning each month from 9 to noon. At 9 am, the MWVCAA's subgrantees (including Shangri-La, the Marion County Housing Authority, and the Yamhill Community Action Partnership), meet as the Continuum of Care collaborative at the ARCHES Project at 1164 Madison Street SE. This is the group referred to in the City's reports to HUD, the same one that MWVCAA has acknowledged does not function as it should, and needs the help of the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Task Force (MWHITF) to succeed. Indeed, the subgrantees' collaborative efforts appear to have been limited to satisfying technical HUD requirements (in fact, they often choose not to meet because they are busy compiling the requisite data or reports). [Update 4/23/17, the Marion County Housing Authority is undergoing dissolution and has not attended meetings for some time. YCAP also has not attended for some time.)
Also at 9 am on the second Thursday of each month, the Homeless Empowerment Collaborative meets at the Reprographics
|The 3/10 HEC meeting (speakers canceled)|
To put it more plainly, homeless adults - of necessity - move around a lot, and there is no system for tracking them across various social service agencies and programs. This not only makes it difficult to measure program effectiveness, it can be very hard on their children, if they have children, who may be moved unnecessarily from school to school, or even kept out of school, due to lack of parental resources and poor planning.
In the absence of a tracking system and parental cooperation, collaboration at the case-management level allows critical information-sharing between the STEP providers and the parents' service providers that is needed to improve the children's school situation. The problem is that no such conversations may occur without duly authorized releases of information, and some programs, such as the Center for Hope and Safety, have been unwilling to sign on, presumably out of concern for parental safety/confidentiality. The result has been meetings limited to the speaker/announcements format so common among Salem's service organizations. It's a problem we hope can be solved for the sake of the children in the STEP program.
|Phil Dean speaking at the 3/10 EHN meeting|
There is in Salem a fourth homelessness-focused group, one that's more faith- than provider-based. Featured along with the MWHITF in a recent issue of Salem Weekly, the Salem Homeless Coalition meets at 7 pm on the first Monday of the month at St. Mark Lutheran Church. Most recently, 35 members and guests heard a fast-paced presentation about Square One Villages by Dan Bryant, Senior Minister of the First Christian Church in Eugene, President of Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, past president of the Eugene City Club, and chair of the board that oversees OVE (Opportunity Village Eugene). There were lots of questions and offers to help Salem do
|Dan Bryant speaking at the 3/7 SHC meeting|
Pretty clearly, these
Finally, last week the Statesman Journal and KMUZ began a series of articles and programs designed to inspire the local citizenry to prepare to take care of themselves in the event of a disaster like a subduction zone earthquake. Notably, the standard advice in this space tends to assume the reader/listener is a homeowner, or at least lives in a house, not someone who lives in multi-family housing with little or no space to store, let alone finance, the three-week water and food supply we're told we need to have on hand at all times, and whose building might well become uninhabitable in the event of disaster. It seems not a little insensitive, even cruel, to be saying, sorry, you're going to be on your own, so you had better prepare to camp in your front yard, to a community more than half of whose struggling households are renters.