Saturday, January 27, 2018

MWVCAA: "Driving Out Poverty"

Revised: January 2019

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

 MWVCAA Director Jon Reeves "driving out poverty"
The Mid Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA)'s fusion fundraising effort fell well short of its $50,000 goal last Saturday.  Too bad.  All that effort.  Who'd have thought poverty and golf wouldn't make magic together?  Especially in Hillsboro?  

It wasn't a total bust.  Top executives Jon Reeves and Cyndi Leinassar, along with several MWVCAA Board members (Kevin Karvandi, Jennifer Wheeler, Herm Boes, Erika Lanning, Linda Bednarz and Helen Honey) and managers, and a couple of non-profit colleagues, raised a total of $31,435 from their "networks." 

Their ads didn't say what the money would be used for, except "Driving out poverty." []

Does that include renovating their office building on Commercial Street, so they can finally reopen The ARCHES Project day shelter?  Is giving arguably underpaid employees raises "driving out poverty"? 

Maybe MWVCAA's failure to state clearly what the funds would be used for (also) had something to do with its failure to meet the goal of $50,000.

Another possible factor was, last December, while the board members were trying to recruit participants, the very poor communications about, and evident reluctance to activate, despite public outcry, an emergency warming shelter.

All things considered, perhaps the board did well to raise as much as they did.  (Be interesting to know how many donors there were.)  But, it's very likely they could have raised a lot more if they'd paid more attention to things like showing respect for the concerns of the broader community, and being sensitive to "optics."  But, that's never really been MWVCAA's style.

This year, MWVCAA will receive at least $27 million in state and federal funds for their various anti-poverty programs.  Of that, we estimate the Community Resources Program, of which ARCHES is the main component, will receive about $4.5 million (about 17% of the total agency budget, up from 8% in 2013).

Unlike most social service agencies, MWVCAA does not have to compete for these funds.  They are required by statute and rule to be given to MWVCAA.  The funds are an "entitlement", based on stuff like population and poverty levels.  All MWVCAA has to do to get the money is submit a budget and a work plan, which management may amend at any time.  The amendment must be approved, but as we saw with the process last fiscal year to approve ARCHES using $487K to purchase the new building, OCHS isn't particular.  Just spend the money by the end of the year (June 30), please.

Based on the budgets and work plans MWVCAA submitted to OHCS for the 2015-2017 biennium (obtained through a second public records request), ARCHES spent most of its PY2016 OHCS funds on emergency shelter, the new building, and rapid rehousing (see chart below).  That's if they spent the money in accordance with their work plans.   

ARCHES also received about $375K for rapid rehousing through HUD's CoC Program, and $324K from the Department of Veteran Affairs (probably Self Sufficiency for Veteran Families (SSVF) funds), and it's likely they received some CSBG, FEMA and Marion County funds, as well.  We estimate their total budget for PY2016 was about $2.8 million, about 60% of what we estimate they will receive for PY2017.

We chose to chart only the funds coming through OHCS because only OHCS requires budgets and work plans indicating how the money will be spent.  In the charts, "Admin" includes data collection and what OHCS calls "community capacity building." 

The "unbudgeted" column in the PY2017 chart above includes EHA Phases I and III (the Phase I budget didn't add up, and we did not receive the Phase III budget in the response to our public records request) less the allowed 10% for admin (OHCS and MWVCAA each take 10% for admin), less the Building, plus EHA DRF (not budgeted) and about $55K in unexpected increases in amounts received.  The third largest category, Building, includes $10K/month in mortgage payments, $495,856 for renovations, and $250K for the balloon payment that's due some time in 2018 (which might be put off until the second half of the year [i.e., PY2018] and which MWVCAA has said it will seek to cover with EHA funds).  Elderly Rental Assistance (or ERA) is a new state program.   

Below is a graph of how OHCS and ARCHES management look at PY2017 spending.  It's based on CRP "Core" budget published by OHCS last October 2017. 

We asked CRP Director Jimmy Jones about this budget when it was published.  He acknowledged that he did expect receive additional funds in PY 2017, and explained,

My general philosophy is that the program follows a “one-third” model...One third on salaries for people to provide direct client services:  day center, assessment, navigation, case management, support for other high profile community needs (HRAP)[,] etc.[,] [w]ithout which, especially with a population at this needs level, the placements will fail...One third on non-personnel operations costs:  the electric bill, water bill, gas bill, supplies, insurance, and a thousand other things that have to get paid to do business on this scale...One third to direct financial supports for clients. 
Goal is always to get the most production and the greatest efficiency out of the first group [personal services] so that there’s little to no duplication or waste, and to cut costs in the second group [operations] so that you have more money to spend in the third [direct payments]. There are structural limitations that are frustrating though.  The Vet programs for example carry 8 staff with them, but they can by contract only serve vets, which are only about 15 percent of the homeless population.

We didn't ask, and therefore don't know, where this "one-third" model comes from, but we don't think it makes sense to pay $46,000/mo for rent, utilities, insurance and supplies for one office building.  Maybe someone could explain it to us.  And, it'd sure be nice to have details on those "Direct Payments."

With the additional funds expected from OHCS in PY2017, the amount going "To Other Providers" (aka "subrecipients") will also be greater than indicated on the graph.  Based on available budget submissions, MWVCAA expects to be giving about $500K in OHCS-administered emergency shelter funding to the Center for Hope and Safety, Northwest Human Services (HOAP and HOST, presumably), Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, St. Francis Shelter, St. Joseph Shelter, Sable House (Polk County) and Grace House. 

Readers should bear in mind that the graphs display only projected spending, not actual spending.  There appears to be no requirement for reporting/monitoring how state funds are actually spent, and very little in the way of measuring outcomes.  While that might have been acceptable when the state was allocating a mere $5M or so statewide in annual EHA/SHAP fuding (most of which was reportedly spent on motel vouchers), it should not be acceptable today, when the state is giving CAAs $41M statewide, and budgets are nearly double what they were.

MWVCAA Staff, Board Mbrs and Supporters
The more MWVCAA takes on -- whether it's additional funds or new projects -- the more it is accountable to the community.  Management no longer has the excuse that it lacks the resources/capacity to do more than meet minimum reporting requirements.  If that was ever true, it's not true any longer.  The culture at MWVCAA needs to change.  Esse quam videri. 

If the board is now done playing golf, perhaps they will turn their attention to these issues, and work to make MWVCAA an institution the whole community can support, and maybe, one day, even be proud of.  George Carlin.      

Thursday, January 18, 2018

News from the Continuum

Revised: January 2019

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

Toilet placed at ARCHES Nov 22 2017
After a little more than two years, the Arta Potties folks have finally thrown in the towel, and the last remaining toilets (behind the Bishop Building and in the ARCHES parking lot) have been removed, and the program shut down, for pretty much the same reasons the City was forced several years ago to close its public restrooms after hours.  The toilet owned by the First Congregational United Church of Christ on Cottage will remain.

According to one of the Arta Potties originators, Rebecca Maitland Courtney, despite discounts from ACE Chemical and the support of downtown businesses, there were just too few owners willing to allow a toilet to be placed on their property to make the program work, resulting in overuse, misuse and vandalism of the two or three toilets that were in operation.  She says the City was also unwilling to allow a toilet on City property.

Tables and fencing under the bridge, courtesy Parks Department
The Parks Department recently put some picnic tables and barriers under the Marion Street Bridge.  Not too sure what the barriers are for, but the folks with Meals Under the Bridge (MUBs) seem very appreciative.  Presumably, they help keep everyone organized somehow.  The move is consistent with the City's gradual adoption of the harm-reduction model in dealing with so-called "quality of life issues."  

HUD announced recently that it will be funding the Mid Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA)'s Rapid Rehousing program for yet another year (about $389K) through its Continuum of Care (CoC) Program.   HUD also will fund Family Promise's (formerly Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network) family self-sufficiency program (about $152K).  Total 2017 CoC Program dollars going to Marion and Polk County projects/programs = $743,673 (including Shangri-La's usual $202K grant), up from $579,075 awarded last year.   

Readers will recall that the CoC Program is how HUD provides homeless assistance to states through local "continuums of care," or CoCs, usually a county or a group of counties centered on a "metro" area.  Oregon used to have eight, but in 2011, the Salem, Marion and Polk CoC merged into the 26-county "Balance of State" (BOS) CoC, because MWVCAA couldn't or wouldn't continue to administer the program.  

Since 2012, local homeless assistance programs have been forced to compete and collaborate with those 26 counties over federal funding and administrative issues, which, not surprisingly, has not improved the delivery of local homeless services.
The most detailed report to date on the City's Homeless Rental Assistance Program came out last week in connection with a City Council work session on budget priorities (see "Strategic Plan HRAP Action Update").  More recent figures provided in a report to the monthly meeting of the Health and Housing Workgroup were that 41 are enrolled, 22 have been housed and 14 have been deemed ineligible (including 3 registered sex offenders, 2 "too fragile to live independently", 2 who've died and 3 who can't be located, among them Vincent, the "shopping-cart train" guy, who reportedly left town after a run-in with SPD).  Probably one or two more will have been housed by the time this is published.  The pace definitely has picked up.

Sobering Center Plan Circled in Blue
In the work session, the City Council  renewed its support for the Mayor's sobering center (see Strategic Plan Salem Sobering Center Proposed Action), which is projected to cost the City at least $200K for its share of annual operating costs, which includes rent.  The legislature has been asked for  $367K to "build out" the center in the Mid Willamette Community Action Agency's new building on Commercial Street.

So far, the City has offered no details on how it arrived at estimated annual operating costs of $600K to $700K (Grants Pass's center costs $250K to $300K annually), the arrangement with Bridgeway (who the City says will operate the center), or how much Salem Health, WVCH (the CCO), or either County have said they are or might be willing to contribute annually.  Nor can the City identify any ROI, other than to say it's expected that the center will "benefit the community." (Council approved removing the sobering center initiative from the Council Policy Agenda in 2020.)
Salem's SC expected to cost >2x more
Mayor Bennett spoke about the sobering center plan in a recent interview with Willamette Wake Up.  He also talked about the City's emergency warming shelter planning, and the need for a Homeless Programs Coordinator at COG, which will cost the City $45K/yr.

Bennett is in the process of appointing his "Downtown Homeless Solutions Task Force", which was born out of the failure of the "sit-lie" ordinance last fall, to be chaired by Councilor Kaser and staffed by Urban Development Department Director Kristin Retherford.  A total of three meetings are planned through March 7.  According to Retherford, Task Force membership will be a blend of advocates, service providers, residents, businesses, and property owners.  It's "scope" will be

to address behavioral issues and propose solutions related to the specific impacts that homelessness is having on downtown vibrancy and livability, including issues such as trash and litter, abandoned property, health and hygiene, and other behaviors that impact perceptions of safety.  Our downtown should be an inviting and welcoming home to all of Salem’s residents, and a place where the rights and needs of customers, visitors, individuals experiencing homelessness, residents, business owners, and property owners are addressed equitably.

Men's Mission Proposed Site
Lastly, the controversy over UGM's application for a conditional use permit continues (see here and here).  The permit would allow UGM to expand to 300 beds and relocate the Men's Mission from its current location on Commercial Street NE and Center, three blocks north to the site of its store.  A hearing officer's decision is expected mid-February, and an appeal to the City Council seems inevitable.  Given the need, it seems highly unlikely that the City Council would not approve the permit application, the only potential issue being the conditions.  CANDO has been asked to take a position, and will take the matter up at its meeting in February.  (CANDO did not take a position.)

 From the October 2017 DAB Meeting Minutes

1/16/18 Minutes

Residents: Valorie Freeman, Alice Morton
Organizations: Raleigh Kirschman, UGM; Chris Blackburn, NW Remarketing and Downtown Storage Salem; Rick Yurk, BAM Agency; Steve Evans, Cherriots Transit Board;
City and County Representatives: Kevin Hottman and Patricia Farrell, Public Works Department; Officers Darron Mumey and Kevin Hill, and Mark Bucholtz, Salem Police Department
Guests: Ken Hetsel

The regular meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at the First Christian Church at 685 Marion Street NE, Salem.

The minutes of the December meeting were approved by unanimous consent.

Officer Hill reported that demolition at the site of the new police facility is set to begin in late February or early March.  Deputy Chief Bellshaw is the project contact.  A couple of officers have rotated off the Downtown Enforcement Team, and will be replaced by Corporal Mumey and Officer Pat McDermott, for a total of six officers, plus Sergeant Hill.

In public comment, Valorie Freeman shared program guides for the Salem Public Library Foundation’s Salem Reads project and invited everyone to participate.  Business owners Chris Blackburn and Rick Yurk expressed concerns about the size (300 beds, 54,000 SF) and potential negative impact of the shelter that UGM is proposing to build at Division and Commercial on community liveability and underutilized Riverfront property values.  They said that with four shelters [UGM (men’s), HOST (transitional age youth), HOME (day, minors) HOAP (day, adult) and ARCHES (day, adult, currently not open)], CANDO has “more than its share” of homeless residents already, and suggested the board should take a position.  The matter was deferred to the February meeting to allow notice and time to gather more information.  (Note:  The current site of the UGM Men’s Mission at Center and Commercial formerly had overflow capacity to about 300, but in 2016, the Fire Marshal cut capacity to about 185, where it has been since.)

Also in public comment, City Traffic Engineer Kevin Hottman said he had been asked to convert the 12 or so on-street parking spaces on the west side of Cottage in front of the Willamette Valley Communication Center (595 Cottage St) into employee-only parking spaces, and wanted to know if CANDO had any objection.  SPD Communications Director Mark Bucholtz explained that the Center has sufficient employee parking, that generally the spaces under discussion were empty (except Sunday mornings), and that it was for security reasons only that SPD was making the request.  The matter was deferred to the February agenda to allow notice.  

Also in public comment, Michael Livingston referred to his email report to the board (to the effect that he had met with City of Salem Community Development Department staff member Aaron Panko to discuss how the Department plans to deal with the problem of temporary signs placed illegally in City rights-of-way, that he’d been encouraged by what he had heard, that the Department plans to get the word out to downtown businesses like Penny’s and nonprofits like the YMCA, who might not know that it’s unlawful to put signs in sidewalk tree-wells, and to warn frequent offenders like Kelley’s Home Furnishings and College Pro Painters, that the Department also plans to continue periodic Saturday excursions to collect signs in City rights-of-way, that Aaron said he would welcome CANDO’s help with these efforts, particularly contacting downtown businesses and organizations, and that he, Livingston, would be talking with Aaron about how that might be done), and said he gathered the board approved his suggestion that he hold off presenting the City with the recommendation adopted in November, to see if the City’s current efforts will be sufficient to address the problem.  Livingston also reported progress in developing a means for affixing the CANDO name and/or logo to the front of the 75 life jackets that CANDO will be purchasing through the Salem Fire Department, for a total cost of $1,140.75 (within the authorized $1,200 limitation).  (See here and here.)

The board heard a presentation from Natural Resource Specialist, Patricia Farrell, with the Public Works Department on the Riverfront Park Master Plan Update.

The meeting adjourned at 7:03 P.M.

Friday, January 12, 2018

State to Sink More Hless Assist $$ in MWVCAA Bldg

Revised: January 2019

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

The Mid Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA) asked for and obtained OHCS approval to spend another $495,856 in State Homeless Assistance Program (SHAP) and Emergency Housing Assistance (EHA) Phase I, II and III funds to renovate MWVCAA's new building at 615 Commercial Street.

This brings the total EHA and SHAP dollars dedicated to bricks and mortar to almost $983K.  The number of homeless sheltered in this building to date?  Zero, even though MWVCAA made a promise (legal, binding) to use it as a day shelter beginning June 30, 2017, which promise was a condition of using the first $487K in EHA and SHAP funds to buy the building. 

(For details, see "The Golden ARCHES Project", Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.)

The Governor's Office is aware of MWVCAA's lies and false promises.  So, what will be done about it?  We asked the Governor's Housing Policy advisor.  She told us,

We know the system [in Oregon that disburses state and federal funds through community action agencies] is broken, but given a choice between fixing the system, and pushing the money out, now, through a broken system, Speaker Kotek and the [OHCS] Director [Margaret Salazar] felt very strongly that they needed to get the money out there now.
When we pointed out that pushing money through a broken system means very little of it will reach  the people who need it, the Governor's advisor just shrugged.  We're all cogs on a wheel, she seemed to say. 

The excerpt below is from an email written by MWVCAA's Community Resource Program Director, Jimmy Jones, to OHCS last August 2017.  The email gives the false impression that MWVCAA was running a day shelter in its new building, and was about to start renovations (upgrade) needed to expand capacity.

The shelter was not open when the email was written, and is still not open.  MWVCAA did not have enough money for renovations, and the drawings were not being finalized, nor was MWVCAA about to start the renovations, not having sufficient funds for that purpose.

As of this writing, MWVCAA is seeking $300K in Community Development Block Grant funds from the City of Salem, also for renovations (total project cost $795,856, per MWVCAA's application).  (The City will ultimately agree to let MWVCAA have the CDBG funds, along with $300K in Urban Renewal funds.) 

Below is the architects' estimate of construction costs, to include the sobering station, which the City might or might not move ahead with constructing, as operating costs are an issue. 

Below is the latest version of MWVCAA's "business plan", submitted as part of their application to OHCS.  The statement that "MWVCAA is a $27,000,000 Community Action Agency" is true.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

News from the Continuum

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

12/28 SJ Warns Against Misguided Efforts
As often happens during the winter holiday season, there was a substantial uptick in news articles and social media posts about homelessness in the last few weeks of 2017.

Over on the Salem City Council FB page, posts sought to call attention to local residents and issues, asked that more be done, asked for and sometimes offered "solutions", and expressed the hope or desire that local electeds will "step up."

There was so much activity this year that it might even have got the Statesman Journal editors a little worried.  Worried that area residents might start putting their words and ideas into action.  Why should that be worrisome?  Well, according to SJ, giving people food, showers, and tents can be harmful.

Not that SJ bothered to do any local reporting in support of their bias.  They just reprinted an AP story about California's troubles.  What would we do without the SJ looking out for us?

Take heed, you do-gooders, and be careful with those socks and sandwiches.  Things can always get worse!

Just ask UGM.  After all these years, they're finally getting some traction on their plans to build a new men's shelter just north of the current location, across the street from where the City plans to build its new public safety facility.  And what happens?  BAM!  Their application for a conditional use permit gets NIMBYed by former City Council member and real estate developer David Glennie, who wants you to know he's not some uninformed and/or uncaring citizen who just doesn't understand homelessness (and then proceeds to tell you how much he pays every year in property taxes, and how the police won't protect his properties, so he's had to hire security guards, etc., etc.).  Glennie developed Broadway Place (corner Broadway and Market), among other properties.

Ex 1 (Glennie) in Case No. CU-ZC 17-41
Yessir, you're thinking.  He's not some uniformed and/or uncaring citizen who just doesn't understand homelessness.  He's a rich and well-connected citizen who just doesn't understand homelessness.

Or how to make a good NIMBY argument.  Neighbor!  You're telling us the homeless are already there!  How's it gonna hurt you to let UGM provide them shelter?     

Glennie, BTW, is the guy who last May dashed Jon Reeves's (MWVCAA) hopes to relocate The ARCHES Project to Broadway Place, which he (Glennie) claims is "just a stone's throw" from the site of the new Mission.  (Not even with a slingshot.)  Glennie didn't want the ARCHES day shelter, which closed June 28, 2017 and hasn't reopened, in his building.  And now, he doesn't want the Mission in his hood.  Seems to assume it's going to make things worse, not better.  But, whyyyyyyyyyy?  Too many showers?     

New Mission "a stone's throw" from Broadway Place?
Speaking of development, the City Council is set to pass Ordinance Bill 29-17 on Monday.  The  staff report describes the bill as implementing "a Nonprofit Corporation Low Income Housing tax exemption authorized by ORS 307.540 to 307.548" that "will encourage low-income housing preservation and development by lowering costs for non-profit providers of low-income housing." 
This exemption make CHDOs (Community Housing Development Organizations or "cho-dos") more viable, which is needed because Salem has only one, the Catholic Community Services Foundation's CHDO.  (As some may recall, in 2014, the CCSF CHDO inherited the inventory of the Salem-Keizer Community Development Corporation (SKCDC) which had for many years provided quality housing for families with incomes 50% and 30% below median income, but was under-capitalized.)   A city the size of Salem should have more than one CHDO.   

Why do we need more CHDOs?  Because we need more housing!  Under the US HUD's HOME program, 15 percent of the HOME funds allocated to every participating jurisdiction (PJ) (city, County, multi-jurisdictional consortium, or state) is set aside for projects developed by CHDOs. The 15 percent CHDO set aside is Congress's explicit effort to direct HOME program funds into the hands of nonprofit developers.  That's a floor, not a ceiling.  The City is deepening that federal subsidy by passing Ordinance Bill 29-17, and you might find that unexciting, but it's the kind of thing that can make a difference in the long run, and pretty much all we got going is the long run.

Speaking of housing, the Salem Housing Authority is reporting that 21 vulnerable, chronically homeless individuals have now been housed through the City's Housing Rental Assistance Program (HRAP), with another 8 enrolled.  To accommodate this success, the program has added another client case manager (employed by MWVCAA's ARCHES Project and assigned to SHA), and, thanks to a 2-year, $150K grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust, will be adding a "service coordinator" case manager to the HRAP team.  But is this the right way to address homelessness?  Does providing for housing for homeless help, or harm? <---- (attempt at wry humor) 

Monday, January 1, 2018

ROCC: Leave or Remain?

Revised: 4 September 2019

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

Should Marion/Polk Counties Leave or Remain in ROCC?


Congress did not acknowledge homelessness as a national problem until the late 1980s with enactment of homeless assistance legislation.  In 1994, HUD instructed local communities to form primary planning/coordinating bodies to oversee the delivery of all homeless housing and services.  These planning bodies, which HUD called Continuums of Care (CoCs), were supposed to involve  homeless housing and service providers, including police, hospitals, schools, etc., regardless of whether or not they received HUD funding.

OR-504, the Salem, Marion and Polk Counties CoC

In response, CoCs were formed in seven Oregon communities:  (in order of formation) Lane County; Multnomah County; Jackson County; Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties; Marion and Polk counties (map above); the 26 counties making up the Rural Oregon CoC or ROCC; Washington County; and Clackamas County.

In 2004, the City of Portland, Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), implemented a Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) for the Portland/Multnomah County CoC and contracted with Bowman Systems, LLC, to provide ServicePoint software (Oregon’s HMIS application) and services. 

For several years, the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency (MWVCAA) administered the Marion and Polk Counties CoC.  Besides MWVCAA, grantees included Shangri-La Corp., Northwest Human Services, Salem YWCA (which folded in 2013), The Salvation Army of Marion and Polk Counties, and the Salem Housing Authority.  But, MWVCAA found CoC administration an increasing struggle, and, in 2011, the CoC's governing board decided to merge with ROCC.  See "The 2011 Decision to Merge." 

Oregon's CoCs prior to Salem/Marion, Polk Counties CoC merger with Balance of State CoC

In 2011, ROCC was an unincorporated association of service providers that was receiving administrative support from the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department (OHCS).  OHCS was ROCC's designated "Collaborative Applicant." 

In 2012, HUD released an Interim Program Rule that codified the CoC structure and defined CoC responsibilities.  OHCS entered into an inter-governmental agreement with PHB for the designation and transfer of rights to purchase and use ServicePoint licenses.  PHB continues to own and operate the HMIS and to serve as the Primary System Administrator and custodian of the HMIS data, and OHCS continues to administer user licenses for ROCC.

In September 2012, OHCS notified ROCC that it would cease acting as its Collaborative Applicant,  
leaving ROCC without administrative support.  ROCC managed to survive, but its lack of organizational capacity made competing successfully for HUD CoC Program funding increasingly difficult, and its vast geographic area hindered its ability to coordinate services.  In 2016, only two providers serving Marion and Polk counties were receiving CoC Program grants. 

Homelessness rose to the top concern among Salem residents in 2016 (17%), 2017 (26%) and 2018 (33%).

Leave Initiative

On December 1, 2016, the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative Task Force approved a recommendation that Marion and Polk Counties “[a]ssess local inclusion in the Rural Oregon Continuum of Care.” 

On February 21, 2017, the CANDO board considered the question, "Should Salem and Marion and Polk Counties begin planning to re-create a local continuum of care to plan and coordinate the effective delivery of local homeless housing and services, some of which are funded through HUD's CoC Program?"  The board had received a letter from one of two CoC Program grantees expressing concerns about leaving the regional organization; however, after receiving a presentation from Jimmy Jones on the unique needs of the homeless in Salem and Marion and Polk counties, the CANDO board voted unanimously to support the commencement of leave planning.

As reported here, on April 16, 2017, the Affordable Housing, Homelessness and Social Services Work Group recommended that the City leave ROCC.  However, over the next several months, the recommendation was put through the wash of the City Manager's Strategic Planning process and hung up to dry in the Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative (MWHI) Steering Committee, who decided they needed a "cost-benefit analysis" before proceeding further.  The committee made the CBA a priority in the Program Coordinator's one-year work plan, which was approved in April 2018 and amended in October.  The amended plan called for a  report on the CBA in November 2018, but the Program Coordinator quit before the work was completed.  MWVCOG conducted a search for a replacement, and a new coordinator was expected to be on board by January 2019, but the recruitment was unsuccessful, so alternate arrangements were made to complete the CBA.  See "Homeless Program Coordinator Position Empty, Iffy."

Portion of Original year-one work plan
On February 28, 2019 former Commissioner Janet Carlson and Mid Willamette Community Action Agency (MWVCAA) Executive Director Jimmy Jones gave a presentation in which they advised the Steering Committee that what would be best for the area's homeless residents would be to re-form the Salem, Marion and Polk CoC (OR-504) in 2020.

On March 28, the MWHI Steering Committee -- Tom Pessemier (Independence), Scott McClure (Monmouth), Kathy Clark (Keizer), Steve Powers (Salem), Colm Willis (Marion County) -- voted to recommend re-forming the Marion and Polk County CoC, possibly including Yamhill County.  On April 24, the Polk County Board of Commissioners passed resolution 19-05, in support of forming a regional CoC.  The Marion County BOC passed a similar resolution at its May 22 meeting, and the Salem City Council is expected to follow suit on June 10 with Resolution 2019-17.

The Yamhill County Board of Commissioners held two work sessions to consider joining Marion and Polk counties, ultimately deciding on May 21 against leaving the ROCC (Olson and Starrett voting against, Kulla voting in favor).  See "Yamhill County to Remain in ROCC."  Olson subsequently indicated a desire to seek reconsideration of the decision, but ultimately did not do so.

In June, the MWHI Steering Committee began finalizing plans to form the regional CoC Development Council that would ultimately replace the Committee.  See "Area Leaders Forming CoC Development Council."  The Committee met one last time on August 29, 2019, with plans to reconvene as an expanded Development Council on September 24.

Between September and December, the Development Council made final preparations needed to gain HUD's approval to split off from ROCC.  That approval came through on December 11, 2019.  See "HUD Clears Salem MSA to Leave ROCC."

To access all posts labeled "ROCC: Leave or Remain?", scroll to the bottom of this page to find "CANDO Archive issues" and click on "ROC: Leave or Remain."