Sunday, October 30, 2016

Un-merger, Expansion, Revision


OR-504 before Marion/Polk Merged into ROCC
Marion and Polk County programs, through ROCC, have submitted their 2016 request for HUD's CoC Program funds.  This year**, we're asking for about $747K or ~23% of the total allocation to ROCC (~$3,242K).  That's just $20K more than we received in 2005, 2006 and 2007, when we had our own continuum of care (OR-504), $140K less than we received in 2008, and over $206K less than we received in 2009 and 2010 (in 2011 we merged with the 26 counties of ROCC because we lacked the organizational capacity for managing our own  program, as noted here).  Now, after five years in ROCC, some are saying it's time to revisit the decision to merge.  The question is, are we better together?  If not, what are we going to do about the organizational capacity problem?

It's just too dang bad we don't have a regional Task Force to help get answers to these questions.  It's something a) they might actually be able to accomplish (unlike, say, building affordable housing), and b) it'd mean something (unlike what's been proposed).
The Former OR-504 CoC

To be fair, the Chair of the Task Force's Transitional Housing/Shelter committee said he wanted to talk about the un-merging idea when the committee last met (10/20), but he didn't pursue it, likely because of the negative reaction from the ROCC's Coordinator, Jo Ann Zimmer, who was at the meeting to talk about expanding the use of Servicepoint, the Homeless Management Information System software used in Oregon, and the importance of data in creating an effective homeless services delivery system.

We get that pulling out of ROCC might not be as good for ROCC as it might be for us, but we should at least talk about it.  (BTW, if you want to explore federal program awards on your own, you can check out this link.)

OHCS Memo Requesting SHAP/EHA Program Expansion
A couple of interesting things going on at Oregon Housing and Community Services Department (OHCS). 

Margaret Salazar, formerly of PDX HUD, takes the helm on Tuesday, succeeding Margaret Van Vliet, who came to OHCS from the PDX Housing Bureau.  The other item of interest concerns a questionable expansion of the SHAP and EHA programs.

Last winter, the legislature allocated  $10M to two OHCS progams: the State Housing Assistance Program ($2M) and the Emergency Housing Assistance program ($8M) for "homeless prevention and assistance."  This was a "one-time" allocation to the programs, which is not something prior SHAP and EHA grantees are apparently used to seeing, and what makes what's going on at OHCS interesting.
Where Most HSC Meetings Take Place.
It seems that some unnamed grantees (in PDX?) want to use the funds for capital acquisition, i.e., real estate, for "homeless shelter facilities and transitional housing", which SHAP and EHA guidelines don't currently allow.  So, this month OHCS, with the advice of the Oregon "a case can be made" Department of Justice, asked the Housing Stability Council to expand those programs to allow such acquisitions, and the HSC dutifully complied with fingers crossed that the expansion doesn't cause OHCS to be sued.  See the OHCS memorandum in support of the expansion here at page 13, and notes on the Housing Stability Council's discussion here at page 6.

The litigation risk notwithstanding, Salem's HOME Youth Resource Center should consider whether its plans for a minors-only shelter might have a better chance of success through the SHAP and EHA programs vs. the HUD program they're trying for now, in conjunction with eight other counties in the ROCC.  See here and here.              

Finally, this past week the Salem Housing Advisory Committee voted to accept a staff proposal to recommend  that the Salem Housing Board of Commissioners revise how vouchers are issued under SHA's Section 8 Administration Plan.  The move would put families into smaller units, but allow more families to be served.  The need for the revision comes as a result of rising rents and will come before the SHABOC in November.

**[2/13/17 Update: the total requested by Marion/Polk County providers for Marion/Polk County residents was closer to $647K, not $747K (it turns out that one of the M/P projects is actually for residents of Lincoln County).  Because of its many issues, ROCC was given a low score on its application, and one M/P program that asked for $36K was not funded at all.  The total awarded M/P projects was thus only $579K.]    

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Marion/Polk's FY2016-17 CoC Program Funding Request

The below descriptions of Marion and Polk County projects were copied and pasted from a document distributed to participants at the October ROCC meeting that had this title:
At the end of each description below is the approximate amount requested for the project, which figures were found in a document linked on the CAPO website



FY2016-FY2017 Projects

OR-505 BOS/Rural Oregon Continuum of Care

* Marion/Polk County Projects Only *
 
Updated 2/13/17
Requested ~$616 (19%) of ~$3.2M Possible Allocation
Received ~$579 of $3,134,740 Allocation

FY2016-FY2017 Renewal Projects
16. (MWVCAA) Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency – MWVCAA ARCHES PH-RRH The ARCHES RRH program serves homeless individuals and families in Marion and Polk Counties. All participants face multiple barriers to accessing safe and appropriate housing. The program is designed to assist participants successfully transition to permanent housing through intensive case management services, housing placement assistance, and short to medium- term (up to 24 months) rental assistance.
The program features a youth component to help address the unique barriers that youth face in accessing housing, and also an outreach component which enables the program to make contact with potential participants.
All participants take part in case management services designed to increase self-sufficiency and assist in overcoming barriers to accessing and maintaining permanent housing. Case management meetings occur in the office and in the participant’s home monthly or more frequently as needed. Home visits are conducted regularly to ensure that participant needs are being met and that a successful adjustment is being made to the new living situation. Struggles related to maintaining housing are addressed and problem-solved with the participant.
Case management meetings include the development of Self-Sufficiency Action Plans. Action plans are based on detailed assessments of each participant’s strengths and needs, and emphasize goals on accessing and maintaining permanent housing, accessing or stabilizing employment, increasing income, and accessing benefits of mainstream health, social, and employment programs for which they are eligible to apply.
The Program uses a “scattered-site model” placing participants in apartments and houses that fit their individual needs. All participants actively participate in locating and selecting their own unit. Factors such as identified barriers, household income, housing location, support systems, and size and makeup of the household are taken into consideration when locating and approving appropriate units. A concentrated effort is made to locate housing for participants close to their employment, to services, to amenities such as grocery stores and pharmacies, and to accessible transportation. Units must pass a habitability standards and an HQS inspection, and rent costs must be reasonable when compared to rent costs for other units in the area with similar amenities. This ensures that the unit is affordable, safe, decent, and sanitary, which will further increase the likelihood that the household will be able to remain in their housing long-term, after assistance from the program concludes.
This program supports participants to quickly access permanent housing, while offering participants the supports needed to adjust to living in their own home, to gain stability, and to develop plans for their continued stability. It is the goal of the program that participants will be able to permanently remain in their housing when they exit from the program.
Request: ~$383,000  Update 12/20/16: Award: $383,077

19. (OHA) Oregon Health Authority – OHA ROCC - OHOP PH Consolidated
Through three regional housing coordinators, the OHOP Program provides housing services to people living with HIV in all counties of the Rural Oregon Continuum of Care (ROCC) service area, with the exception of Yamhill County. The goal of OHOP is to assist clients in achieving and maintaining housing stability so as to avoid homelessness and to improve their access to, and engagement in, HIV treatment. This application is for 1 of 2 ROCC funded programs provided by OHOP.
OHOP will continue utilizing a Supportive Housing Program (SHP) to provide scattered site, tenant based leasing support to provide permanent supportive housing to 10 homeless households affected by HIV/AIDS living in any eligible county within the ROCC. All participants are literally homeless upon entry to the program. The model operates using a housing first approach, attempting to place clients as soon as possible upon referral into permanent housing. All clients are required to create an individualized housing stability plan which identifies their goals and strategies for maintaining permanent housing. This plan includes activities such as applying for Section 8 or other long term housing assistance programs.
While OHOP housing coordinators provide individualized housing stability planning, all other supportive services for assisted clients are provided through leveraged Ryan White funded HIV case managers. Leveraged wrap around services include, but are not limited to, medical case management, psychosocial case management, assistance with accessing health insurance, medical services (including mental health and substance abuse treatment), and dental care, emergency financial assistance, employment services, utility assistance, medical transportation assistance, and application assistance to entitlement programs.
Request: ~$71,000 (shared across CoC except for Yamhill, not included in M/P total)
Update 12/20/16: award $70,826
20. (OHCS) Oregon Housing and Community Services – OHCS HMIS Consolidated
The OHCS HMIS grant partially funds a full-time HMIS system administrator who provides training, technical assistance and coordination of HMIS protocols for the 28 member agencies of the Rural Oregon Continuum of Care (ROCC) and their sub-recipients. In addition, the HMIS grant pays for hardware updates for the system administrator and HMIS licenses and fees for ROCC users.
Request: ~$81,000 (shared across CoC, not included in M/P total)
Update 12/20/16: award $80,992
21. Shangri-La – Shangri-La New Options TH
New Options provides transitional housing, case management, and substance abuse treatment for up to 30 homeless households with substance abuse issues annually and 16 households at any given time. Of the 16 households we expect that at least 2 will be single parents working to be re-united with their children, and 2 will be chronically homeless. The individuals residing at New Options are either receiving substance abuse treatment and/or have completed substance abuse treatment and require additional supports to be successful. New Options is a 4-plex that provides peer support during hours when the substance abuse counselor is not on-site.
Case management includes assessments of all needs for each individual, access to drug and alcohol treatment, mental health care, medical/dental care, and assistance in obtaining mainstream resources. In addition to case management services and substance abuse treatment, New Options outcomes include employment, and/or active engagement in an academic program, access to mainstream resources, and access to permanent housing for the participants residing in the program.
New Options is located on a bus line and has many accessible amenities (grocery store and pharmacy) within 1 mile of its location. New Options creates a transition for individuals and single parents who would otherwise be homeless by providing housing and services through community partners. Participants can live at New Options for up to 2 years; however, they are re-evaluated every 6 months to ensure they are each on track to obtaining permanent housing. Partners include:
•Bridgeway Recovery Services: provides case management services and drug and alcohol treatment for each individual residing in the program. In addition to the treatment services, starting in December 2014, Bridgeway will be providing the room fees for each participant.
•Shangri-La Corporation: provides landlord-tenant services for New Options to Bridgeway, Marion County Corrections, and the tenants residing at New Options
Other partners include ARCHES, Marion County Corrections, Bridgeway, Department of Human Services Children and Families.
Request: ~$37,000  Update 12/20/16: not awarded

22. Shangri-La – Shangri-La PSH Assistance PH
Shangri-La’s Housing Assistance Project (SHAP-0) provides permanent supportive housing in scattered- sites to homeless individuals and/or families with disabilities within Marion County. Services include assistance with locating appropriate affordable housing, ongoing case management, identification and assistance with barriers to employment, and financial resources for housing. SHAP-0 provides permanent housing services to 15 households. Of these households, 12 consist of adults without children and three are families with children, and 2 participants are chronically homeless per HUD’s definition. Each participant is referred to the program by community partners that are willing to continue to work with each participant in order to help maintain their permanent housing placement and work towards self-sufficiency. The barriers faced by those served in SHAP-0, in addition to their disability, may include one or more of the following: mental illness, substance abuse, criminal history, inadequate job skills, lack of education, abusive home environments, poor rental history, bad credit, or lack of previous rental experience and/or credit history. Each participant in the project are in need of a safe living environment with the necessary support services to assist them in obtaining and maintaining housing, and becoming self-sufficient in the community. Individuals reside in areas that are on a bus line and the program provides bus passes to each individual and/or family as needed or they have their own mode of transportation. Should the individual need assistance with transportation, the Housing Resource Specialist (HRS) is able to transport to and from critical appointments. Each program participant works with the HRS to ensure mainstream resources are obtained. The HRS works with each participant to determine their ability to become successfully employed. In the majority of cases, employment is not an option due to the participant’s disability. In addition to working to increase financial resources, the HRS works with participants to ensure that appropriate housing is located and to complete necessary HQS Inspections. SHAP-0 partners with ARCHES, Bridgeway, Youth & Family Services, Northwest Human Services, Marion County Health Department, Union Gospel Mission, Women’s Crisis Services, and other community partners who provide outreach and services to homeless and chronically homeless individuals and families in our community. Shangri-La and community partners make contact with clients on the streets, in shelters, malls, libraries, emergency food distribution points, and in other community settings. As a result of this outreach effort, the Project also receives referrals from businesses, churches, police, and other social service agencies that have encountered a homeless person or family needing services.
Request: ~$162,000  Update 12/20/16: award $162,051

23. Shangri-La – Shangri-La PH Bonus SHAP 1
Shangri-La’s Permanent Housing Bonus Project (SHAP-1) provides permanent supportive housing for up to 5 homeless individuals with disabilities in scattered site housing units. The units are located throughout Marion County. In addition to being homeless with a disability, the population served are facing multiple barriers including mental illness, substance abuse issues, criminal histories, inadequate job skills, and poor rental histories. Each individual coming into the program receives permanent housing, ongoing case management, mental health assessments, and treatment resources as needed. Of the five participants, 2 are chronically homeless per HUD’s definition of chronically homeless. Participants are referred to the program by community partners that are willing to continue to work with each participant in order to help maintain their permanent housing placement. Individuals reside in areas that are on a bus line and the program provides bus passes to each individual and/or family. Should the individual need assistance with transportation, Shangri-La's Housing Resource Specialist (HRS) is able to transport to and from critical appointments. Each program participant works with the HRS to ensure eligible mainstream resources are obtained. These resources include TANF, SSI, SSB, health benefits, food stamps, and other resources as needed. The HRS works with each participant to determine their ability to become successfully employed. In the majority of cases, employment is not an option due to the participants’ disability. In addition to working to increase financial resources, the HRS works with each participant to ensure that appropriate housing is located and to complete necessary HQS Inspections. SHAP-1 partners with ARCHES, Bridgeway, Youth & Family Services, Northwest Human Services, Marion County Health Department, Union Gospel Mission, Women’s Crisis Services, and other Continuum of Care partners who currently provide outreach to homeless and chronically homeless individuals in our community. Shangri-La and community partners make contact with clients on the streets, in shelters, malls, libraries, emergency food distribution points, and in other community settings. Shangri-La’s HRS works with each referred individual to ensure eligibility for permanent housing through the project. Information regarding referral procedures and participation criteria is made available to those who typically come in contact with homeless persons. As a result of this outreach effort, SHAP-1 also receives referrals from businesses, churches, police, and other social service agencies that have encountered a homeless person or family needing services. Shangri-La’s HRS and Project Director participate in various community-wide collaborations and planning groups that focus on homelessness.
Request: ~$34,000  Update 12/20/16: award $ 33,947

24. Shangri-La – Shangri-La PH SHAP 2
Shangri-La’s Permanent Housing Expansion Project (SHAP-2) provides PSH for up to 4 homeless individuals (priority is CH) and 4 homeless families, where at least one family member has a documented disability. The units are located in scattered site apartments/homes throughout Lincoln, Marion and Polk Counties. In addition to being homeless, the population served are facing multiple barriers including disabilities, mental illness, substance abuse issues, criminal histories, inadequate job skills, and poor rental histories. Participants coming into the program receive permanent housing, ongoing case management, mental health and substance abuse assessments, and treatment referrals as needed. Each participant is referred to the program by community partners that will continue to work with each participant in order to help maintain their permanent housing placement. Participants reside in areas that are on a bus line and the program provides bus passes to each individual and/or family. Should the individual need assistance with transportation, the Housing Resource Specialist (HRS) is able to transport to and from critical appointments. Each program participant works with the HRS to ensure eligible mainstream resources are obtained. These resources include TANF, SSI, SSB, health benefits, food stamps, and other resources as needed. The HRS works with each participant to determine their ability to become successfully employed. In the majority of cases, employment is not an option due to the participant’s disability. In addition to working to increase financial resources, the HRS works with each participant to ensure that appropriate housing is located and to complete necessary HQS Inspections.
SHAP-2 partners with Lincoln County Housing Authority, Community Services Consortium, Salvation Army, Local School Districts, United Way, ARCHES, Local County Health Departments in Lincoln, Polk, and Marion Counties, Union Gospel Mission, Women’s Crisis Services, and other community partners who provide services and outreach to homeless and chronically homeless individuals in each community. Shangri-La and community partners make contact with clients on the streets, in shelters, malls, libraries, emergency food distribution points, and in other community settings. Shangri-La’s HRS works with each referred participant to ensure eligibility for permanent housing and identify barriers the participant is interested in breaking down. Information regarding referral procedures and participation criteria is made available to those who come in contact with homeless persons. As a result of this outreach effort, SHAP-2 also receives referrals from businesses, churches, police, and other social service agencies that have encountered a homeless person or family needing services. Shangri-La’s HRS and Project Director participates in various community-wide collaborations and planning groups that focus on homelessness.
Request: ~$95,000  (all beds in Lincoln, not included in total)
Update 12/20/16: award $95,357

FY2016-FY2017 New Planning project
(CAPO) Community Action Partnership of Oregon – OR-505 BOS Planning Grant
The CoC planning grant will support Community Action Partnership of Oregon, lead agency and Collaborative Applicant to BOS CoC, in continuing to support the part- time contracted BOS CoC coordinator’s role in facilitating the HEARTH Act implementation work on behalf of Oregon’s 28- county rural geography. The priority work currently in progress includes on-going CoC coordination (strategic plan development, in-person meeting facilitation, development of standardized documentation, member expectations/guidelines); building with the ESG lead agency a collaborative projects monitoring and evaluations plan (performance targets, consumer engagement, APR reviews, project outcome assessments), participation in Consolidated Plan update opportunities within BOS CoC’s broad service area; establishment of funding priorities; completion of the CoC Application; PITC process planning, implementation, coordination and reporting. Although BOS CoC is supported in data collection by an HMIS lead, the Coordinator continues oversight of HMIS systems (including data analysis) as well as continues development and maintenance of CoC systems to ensure compliance with HUD guidelines.
Additional funds available to support the work of the CoC Coordinator are a small state-funded grant and a 1% fee, supported by all grantees as demonstrated commitment to building and maintaining sustainable organizational capacity. This grant will also assist the Coordinator in facilitating community engagement opportunities in each of BOS CoC’s seven regions to solicit active participation in not only regular CoC meetings but also in building a comprehensive coordinated assessment system, PITC teams, and needs analyses plans to enhance BOS CoC’s ability to establish funding priorities to best meet the housing and services needs in its many diverse communities.
BOS CoC’s ability to evaluate progress of both ESG and CoC projects will be most improved by:
▪ Adjusting CoC staffing to include part-time assistance to Coordinator in administratively supporting an evaluation team through final assessment tools, schedule/checklists refinements; supporting review team (CoC/ESG), processing of eligible reimbursements for travel to annual on-site reviews, and other related tasks
▪ Setting regularly scheduled collaborative conversations with the ESG lead/sub-recipients to develop agenda for local community/consumer engagement opportunities, quarterly data and reviews, and annual Con Plan participation
Request: ~$96,000 (shared across CoC, not included in total)
Update 12/20/16: award $95,528

FY2016-FY2017 Reallocated/NEW Project
35. (MWVCAA) Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency – MVWCAA ROCC SSO for CE
The ROCC SSO for Coordinated Entry(CE) will be built to serve all homeless individuals, families, veterans, people fleeing from domestic violence and unaccompanied youth with a focus on Chronically Homeless participants. This project will continue to operate in 2 counties of ROCC (Marion and Polk) and move into a collaborative effort to do the same work throughout the other 26 rural counties included in the balance of state.
The program will assess the needs and vulnerability levels and prioritize people with the highest level of vulnerability for available homeless and housing programs. A housing first approach will be utilized in a comprehensive assessment tool. MWVCAA currently has a temporarily funded position for a CE Specialist, who will work alongside and with the CoC’s consultant and administrative staff. This collaboration will develop and implement a CE process. The Collaborative CE Program is designed to streamline access to resources directly to participants within the ROCC. Participants will be offered all available mainstream resources in the community. Many factors such as needs, barriers, income, size and makeup of the family will be taken into consideration when utilizing an assessment tool to make appropriate referrals. MWVCAA staff will use a trauma informed care approach and use best practices to reach participants. A pre/post self-reported survey will be given to participants to measure if needs are being met and the length of time to meet the needs. Data analysis (HMIS) will be another way to measure the reduction in the length of time participants are on the streets and stabilized in permanent housing. Follow up tracking may be at 3-month intervals if necessary and will go up to 1 year.
MWVCAA staff and ROCC will regularly attend community meetings to ensure that the CE process will be offered to those accessing assistance and will be able to be reached through multiple venues. Street outreach, networking with community partners, educating the community at large and distributing program flyers in places frequented by homeless persons are the tools that will be used to get the information out about the Program. Goals of the Collaborative CE position include the establishment of a standardized assessment process based on HUD’s statutory guidelines, a baseline of homeless participation with which to gauge progress, and data which can direct necessary process improvements. Based on the groundwork completed by the temporarily-funded CE Specialist, the program will be able expand out to the rural areas of the remaining 26 counties of ROCC. Partnerships made with law enforcement, mental health, and medical healthcare providers will reach participants that may not otherwise search for needed services. MWVCAA has extensive experience in leveraging resources for target populations. MWVCAA and ROCC nurtures partnerships within the community to identify the necessary matching funds to contribute to the success of our programs.
Request: ~$36,000  (shared across CoC, not included in total) 
Update 12/20/16: award $36,309

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Developments Downtown




"Just a reality of the environment...downtown"
At last night's meeting of the Urban Renewal agency, CB2 Architects presented their design plans for a cool new "mixed use" development on the corners of Front and Court Street that will use urban renewal funds and bring 40 units of 1 and 2 bedroom rental housing to downtown.  (CANDO officially endorsed this project at its last meeting.)  The response was nothing short of enthusiastic, except the Mayor had a concern:

I notice that a landscaped plaza is planned for the open area between the two structures and will provide both private and public open space?  Well, being one of the Chairs of the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative and dealing with so many of the issues of the homeless in downtown, and the many vagrancy problems that we are facing, I'm concerned about any amount of public space...I'm sure you don't want to build it like a fortress with gates and walls, but as a downtown resident, there are moments when I feel like I would like to live behind gates and walls.  It's just a reality of the environment that we have downtown.  
Hasn't thought about controlling homeless

It seems the Mayor "just wanted to be certain that we weren't imposing upon you a responsibility to provide public space in order to receive grant funds."  In response CB2 said, "We have not put any thought into how we are going to control the homeless people." 

Readers may recall that a couple of folks this past summer set up camp for a few days under the High Street bridge near the Mayor's condo, (bottom) which generated a social media controversy and seemed to upset the Mayor, who expressed her concern that more wasn't being done to put an end to people using Salem's public spaces to sleep and whatnot.

910 Front Street NE
Further north on Front Street is an empty cold-storage warehouse (or something along those lines) that some folks are thinking might be repurposed as a resource center with showers, laundry facilities, meal service and some form of shelter or housing (or something along those lines) for adults experiencing homelessness.  Don't get excited, they're only in the contemplation stage.

For more than a year now, the Salem Homeless Coalition has been talking about a resource center for adults experiencing homelessness.  For awhile, they hoped the First Christian Church might devote their building at 625 Marion Street, currently occupied by the Department of Energy, to that purpose.  Lately, though, they've begun looking elsewhere, like this Front Street property. 

910 Front Street at bottom, UGM upper right
Notably, however, this building is diagonally just across D Street from the UGM store, where UGM's planning to build its new Mission (and offer many if not all of the services contemplated for the resource(+) center).  Salem has a history of locating its charitable causes where ever someone happens to donate a building or space -- and you'd have thought by now we'd have realized it's a poor basis for making an investment decision, as tempting as it might be to accept a "free gift."

Another reality is the cost of converting a building like this vs. building anew; it's often more expensive in the long run to convert, and this is true whether you're converting a warehouse to SROs or, say, a city bus to a shower bus.  You think it's going to be cheaper with donated labor and whatnot, and when it ends up not being cheaper, you've got all that sunk cost you feel you can't walk away from.  Been there, done that.

Which is not to say conversions never work.  At the last MWHITF meeting, we got a preview of the Center for Hope and Safety's plan to convert (or tear down?) the old Greyhound Bus Station (adjacent to their administrative offices at 605 Center St NE and across Church Street from the Macy's parking garage) to retail space under a couple of floors of "transitional housing" units.  The difference between this and the Front Street property is that, unlike Front Street, the bus station space was retail originally, and, if the whole thing isn't torn down, at least the housing units will be new construction up top.  CHS is hoping the City will help with this project (CDBG or HOME funds, perhaps), which we almost always do. 

Finally, a word about the Salem Homeless Coalition's other project, Home Base Shelters of Salem, which seeks to bring to Salem a sanctioned camping program along the lines of Eugene's "Rest Stops."  (Discussed previously here.)  It's been shopped around privately to the usual suspects, but hasn't yet been presented formally to City Council, despite light agendas for the last two meetings, and there's been no announcement as to when it might be presented.  (Waiting for the 2017 Council, perhaps?)  There doesn't appear to be any public outreach taking place, no potential sites appear to have been chosen, and the website remains for the most part "under construction." (You can't even find a description of the program there.)  Finally, even though two of HBSS's directors are on the MWHI Task Force, they haven't so much as mentioned the project at any of the meetings or in their committees.  So, even though the project leadership has indicated to the SHC that the project remains viable, the evidence, including the casual comments of public officials, indicate otherwise.  

Salmon Run on High Street
 

Friday, October 21, 2016

MWHITF: Leadership Ignores Polk County's Departure


The remaining Task Force co-Chairs continued Wednesday and Thursday to refuse to acknowledge receipt of Polk County's notice that they don't intend to participate further in proceedings.  See here.

Wednesday, during a meeting of the Support Services/Education committee, staff was overheard telling a committee member, who'd asked if it was true Polk County had backed out, that there were always rumors flying about the community and that the (remaining) co-chairs would be meeting Monday to talk about it.  Talk about what, if it's just a rumor?  

Yesterday, after the Transitional Housing/Shelter committee meeting, we asked staff the time and place of next Monday's meeting, as we would like to observe the proceedings on behalf of the media (specifically, our community radio station, KMUZ 100.7 FM).  We were told "I'll have to ask Janet."  She meant, of course, she'd have to ask Janet if she could tell us. 

Now, for those of you who might not be familiar with Oregon's public meetings law, it's okay to exclude the public from executive sessions like the ones the co-chairs have been conducting each month, but they're supposed to be noticed (which they haven't been), and it's generally not okay to exclude the media.  Somehow, we doubt we're going to be given the time and place of the meeting.

As if all this is not weird enough, we've also learned that, according to staff, the committees will be shutting down after Thanksgiving, and, after that, it's up the "the organizations" (the area providers, that is), to carry through on the Task Force recommendations.

Wonder if they know that.

We also wonder how the above "plan" fits in with the plan for the four MBAs from Willamette?  See here.  Who're they developing performance measures for?  Are they, then, going to monitor these other organizations' performance?  What happens when they graduate in May, if we haven't managed to end homelessness by then?  How is the Task Force's strategic plan, once they finish it, going to avoid the fate of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness -- you know, the one Janet said needed meat on its bones, the one that never went anywhere?  These matters are barely mentioned at Task Force meetings, and never discussed, at least not in public. 

At its meeting on Wednesday, the Support Services/Education committee had an informative presentation from the folks at 211info, then got lost in the weeds listening to Janet and Walter Reed talk about Community Data Link and ran short of time to work on their recommendations.  They just barely managed to get out a third rewrite of two adopted and described previously as being "variously and vaguely worded" and "having something to do with promoting"

1) WorkSource Oregon "as a hub to strengthen collaboration among local workforce development providers or agencies", and 2) Cherriots' efforts to "train providers on how to connect clients and transit services", staff to reword as needed for official purposes.   

The third rewrite produced this version:

Promote collaboration among local service providers and Worksource Oregon to maximize workforce development by:
a. Increasing communication among service providers, and providing organizational training to help case workers prepare their clients for referrals to Worksource Oregon.

b. Referring clients to Worksource Oregon for job skills training, employment workshops, educational opportunities, and job placement.     

What do you think?  Better?  Or worse?  The rewrite drops the Cherriots piece and adds words without adding clarity, so we'd say worse.

But we'd also say it doesn't matter, for reasons too numerous to mention, but come down to what's been said from the beginning: the process was flawed, so, naturally, the recommendations -- all of them -- are rubbish.  Even if they weren't, there's no viable implementation plan.  That's why Polk County called it quits; continuing was just a waste of their time.  But rather than deal with an admittedly difficult situation, the leadership has chosen not to recognize Polk County's departure at all, and continues to deliberate in secret.

Ever on the verge, the Task Force has finally entered the realm of farce.

Except it's not very funny to people sleeping in the streets, the woods, their cars, in others' homes or shelters, is it?
~~~

6pm on 10/21 UPDATE:  No reply to our request for the date and time of Monday's co-Chairs meeting:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Minutes 10/18/16


October 18, 2016 
Minutes 

p 
Bruce Hoffman, Chair 
p
Woody Dukes 
p 
Brock Campbell 
p 
Michael Livingston,  
Vice Chair 
a 
Bob Hanna 
p
Bill Holmstrom 

p 
Sarah Owens, Secretary-Treasurer 
p 
Neal Kern 
a 
Diana Dettwyler 

e 
Erma Hoffman 
a 
Rebekah Engle 
a 
David Dahle 
p=present a=absent e=excused 

Residents: Deb Comini, Paul Gehlar 
Organizations: Simon Sanduskey, UGM; Brian Hines, Salem Can Do Better PAC 
City and County Representatives: Councilor and Mayor-elect Bennett, Officers Hill and Galusha, Steven Bellshaw, Deputy Chief of the Salem Police Department 
Guests: none  

The regular meeting of the CanDo Board of Directors was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 18, 2016, at the First Christian Church at 685 Marion Street NE, Salem.  The Chair and Secretary-Treasurer were present. 

The minutes of the September meeting and the letter of intent to apply to the Salem Parks Improvement Fund for two bicycle repair stations were approved by unanimous consent. 

Officer Hill reported that the Downtown Enforcement Team was down to three officers due to reassignments, but in January would be back up to six, seven including him, and on duty seven days a week, up from the current five.  Several classes relating to the upcoming holidays will be offered to area businesses to help increase personal safety and prevent fraudulent activity.  Finally, eleven volunteers will soon begin bicycle patrol training and are expected to assist with enforcement of disabled parking restrictions.  

Councilor Bennett reported on recent actions by the City Council. 

In public comment, Simon Sanduskey said he had been receiving a number of concerned inquiries about changes in policy and practice at the Mission, and wanted to clarify that the Mission was still serving three meals a day, that showers were available for men in the afternoon, whether or not they were involved in a UGM program, and that the only changes were that the locker program had been discontinued, and everyone was expected to be outside and looking for work from 9 to 3:30 p.m. (except to eat lunch).  The reasons for the changes had to do with safety and a census (around 260) that required residents who were able to do so to become self-sufficientPositive effects from the changes had been seen almost immediately     

Following presentations on Measure 24-399 (City of Salem Police Facility General Obligation Bond Authorization) by Councilor Bennett and Brian Hines, with Deputy Chief Bellshaw answering questions, the Chair announced as unfinished business the motion postponed from the last meeting to adopt the proposed Recommendation to the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Task Force.  The motion was adopted unanimously. 

During new business, Michael Livingston proposed two new motions that were adopted, to join the City Council providing a letter of support for The Big Jump Project and in supporting Measure 24-399.  Sarah Owens also proposed new motions that were adopted, to authorize the expenditure of up to $50 for refreshments for the November meeting, to cancel the December meeting, and to support the four-story mixed-use building, discussed at the August meeting, to be built at the corner of Front and Court Streets and add 40 1-2 bedroom apartments downtown, and more residents to CANDO.    

There being no other business before the board, the meeting was adjourned at 7:07 p.m.