Saturday, May 13, 2017

News from the Continuum

Staff Wish List Recommendations - Agenda at 41
HRAP has made it to the top of the staff recommendations for the Budget Committee's Wish List.

The sobering station came in at 9 and the Homeless Initiatives Coordinator position came in at 12, each with a "do not include" recommendation.

The main reason given for the "do not include" was those project proposals' lack of "specificity", leaving open the possibility they will be funded some time in the future. 

No surprises here.  A sobering station/center is a medical facility where people picked up for public intoxication that are too intoxicated to be housed
safely in jail can sober up under medical control/supervision, usually for 1 or 2 days.  Current practice is to take these individuals to the hospital.  Salem Health staff recently told us that, at any given time, 10 to 12 emergency room beds are occupied by intoxicated individuals.  Grants Pass, Portland, Eugene and Medford have sobering services of one sort or another.  It's not likely that the need for these services is any less in Salem.

Costs and administration tend to be ongoing issues.  Sobering stations are expensive propositions and require the right balance of partners to remain viable.  The Mayor's been very candid about the difficulties he's had in "getting to yes" on this project, but he also seems determined, so it's likely the City Council will be revisiting this request in the coming months. 

Spending $65,000 for a Homeless Initiatives Coordinator to implement the 40+ recommendations contained in the MWHITF "Strategic Plan" would be throwing good money after bad. The position is entirely unnecessary, of course, and not funding it will have no effect.   

Although there were vague references to a "successor" organization during the Task Force's eighth meeting in November, the proposal for a coordinator (then referred to as a "project manager") to be housed in the Council of Governments (COG) was cobbled together during the last 25 minutes of the eleventh and final meeting of the Task Force.  The case for implementing the plan was never actually made.  Rather, it was assumed.  The position was not agreed to, or even anticipated, in the Task Force Charters, and the City is certainly under no obligation to fund it by reason of some undefined, inchoate need for "intergovernmental cooperation", as suggested by remarks made in support of the motion to move the item to the Wish List at the last Budget Committee meeting (the only reason given for moving the item to the Wish List at that time or since).

1255 Broadway NE
In other news, the ARCHES Project will be moving from the leased space long held on Madison Street to 1255 Broadway NE, formerly occupied by the YWCA, which went belly-up, as they say, in 2013-14, and is now occupied by Family Building Blocks and the misnomered Center for Community Innovation.  The move, which up until recently appears to have been kept quiet, is due to be completed by June 30.  The presence of the ARCHES Project in the neighborhood, if not well-managed, is likely to pose a challenge to the Salem Alliance Church and the patrons of Broadway Commons.  Let's hope someone at MWVCAA is on top of that, ha, ha. [See update below.]

There will be an informational conference call between HUD and local government representatives this coming Friday.  No one has copped to initiating the call, but our bet is that it was the ROCC staff person who did so in reaction to last week's outreach report, despite speculation based on the rank of the HUD officials copied on the emails, that HUD actually cares whether Marion and Polk Counties might reform OR-504 CoC.  It's worth noting that ROCC staff apparently do not know enough about Polk County to identify the housing providers or elected officials that should be included in the call.  Either that, or they think Brent DeMoe really is in charge over there (this will be news to Brent).

[Update 5/16/17: the Budget Committee voted unanimously to adopt the staff recommendation to include HRAP and not to include the Coordinator position at COG in the 2017-2018 budget.]    
[Update 5/17/17: HUD sent an email yesterday with "Proposed topics for the call" that suggest the purpose of the call is not to provide "key information", but much more general.  But anyone who wants to call in should feel free to do so.]
[Update 6/1/17:  Turns out the ARCHES Project will not be moving to 1255 Broadway NE after all.  It seems the upstairs tenants did not care for the prospect of having a day center downstairs, and, more importantly, had the right to prevent that use.  So, ARCHES is again on the lookout for new digs.]

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