|Lane County's CAHOOTS Van (Photo Courtesy KVAL.com)|
The conversation began with Sonya (SHA) telling Jeanine (UGM) about SHA's outreach efforts, and Jeanine telling Sonya about UGM's "Search and Rescue Team", which has been operating since early this year. Turns out, there are indeed overlaps, but there are also differences. For example, the SHA team does not have a van, and so cannot safely transport those in need. The UGM team has a van, but does not have any females on the team, and so cannot safely transport females in need. The SHA team are seasoned pros, while the UGM team is young and relatively inexperienced. The thought occurred: maybe they could team up somehow.
Sonya told Jeanine about how she and Nicole, the other half of SHA's team, went down to Eugene awhile back to ride along with the Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets, or CAHOOTS, team. How, after ten hours, they still weren't ready to go home, they wanted to see more. Sonya suggested that Jonathan and Vince, the UGM team, might check out CAHOOTS as well. And maybe let Sonya and Nicole ride along with them in the UGM van on one of their rounds.
Jonathan and Vince go out to Polk County and "up the canyon" on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they restock the van, and visit the camps and whatnot in the city. They ask people what they need, provide what resources they can, and offer services through UGM's programs. Jeanine said they're both over 6'4" and familiar with the needs and circumstances of the households they're wanting to help.
Won't blog the entire rest of the conversation, which got into individual cases and what we're pretty sure were trade secrets. But, Sonya invited Jeanine, who happens to be UGM's Director of Programs, to speak at an upcoming meeting of the Emergency Housing Network, talk about UGM's current programs, and maybe dispel some of the more common myths about how they're run. Sonya promised to provide Jeanine a list of those myths, but she kept coming back to, "How can we work together?" We talked about the Homeless Rental Assistance Program (HRAP) and the possibility of UGM participating in data collection and sharing through ServicePoint, Oregon's Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and yesterday we learned that Jeanine and Bruce Bailey, UGM's CEO, plan to meet with SHA next week about those things.
|Salem's May 6 Strategic Plan Worksession|
As it is now, the proposed program budget is for one year, which means HRAP as currently conceived is the nature of a pilot. But, it's not as if there's a Plan B.
All the research points to permanent supportive housing as the most effective approach in dealing with a chronically homeless population. Without PSH, that population is only going to grow.
The City can choose either to continue to try and maintain residents in the streets and wooded areas, which costs tens of thousands of dollars a year per individual, or it can spend about a third of that to leverage existing resources and provide these residents the housing and services they need. Clearly HRAP is the only sensible and humane way forward. With an estimated 500 chronically homeless residents living in Salem, it will take the City roughly five years, at a rate of 100 per year, to fully implement HRAP. Accordingly, the HRAP should be budgeted for the next five years, not just the one, so that it is "fiscally sustainable", a value the Salem City Council is beginning to embrace as part of its strategic planning process.
|SS/HLness Goals & Recs at 3|
It is in the nature of strategic planning, it seems, to have to state goals in the abstract, even to the point of obscurity. Accordingly, yesterday, the City Council, after hearing Councilor McCoid's presentation, came up with this "overarching" goal statement (combining the affordable housing goals with the social services and homelessness goals):
"Adequate housing supply and security of housing for those in need, regardless of economic situation or status, with maximized access, resources and services for the homeless."
Ugh. Why not just say, "End homelessness", and be done with it? If a workgroup's specific goal statements are too numerous, they should be sent back to the workgroup, not mangled into something meaningless by the entire Council on a beautiful spring morning.
|SHA Staff at the May 6 Worksession|
|Moved onto the Council "Wish List" by Councilor Andersen May 3, 2017|
|The Keizer Times|