Sunday, January 12, 2020

HUD Clears Salem MSA to Leave ROCC

By Sarah Owens and Michael Livingston

12/5/19 "Stakeholders" vote 'Yes' to leaving ROCC
Finally, HUD has given Salem, Marion and Polk counties (aka the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area) the go-ahead to split off from the nightmare Rural Oregon Continuum of Care and re-form a regional continuum of care to coordinate delivery of homeless housing and services. 

Jimmy Jones, Director of the Mid-Willamette Community Action Agency, calls the decision a "generational change."  That's his way of trying to limit expectations, of letting people know that, although "actual" change will be slow in coming, there is reason to hope it will, eventually, turn out to have been significant.  Like getting elected or married, it's all about how one handles what comes next.

MWVHA Staff Jan Calvin arranges 'Yes' photo
As regular readers will be aware, the move is long overdue and brings much responsibility, but little risk, owing to the intolerable and ever-deteriorating conditions in ROCC.  See "ROCC: Leave or Remain?"  The new/old regional CoC will bear the name "Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance" and take its former HUD identifier "OR-504", relinquished in 2011 when Marion and Polk counties merged with ROCC.

The past ten years have cost the region's homeless housing and services so dearly that the region will probably never catch up.  But, we might at least stop falling further and further behind.  If nothing else, the re-formation effort has brought City, county and tribal  officials together in common cause, and means the region will finally have access to local homeless management information system and performance data, which is something it's never really had, even though the information existed.

You can find more information, including formation documents, at the Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance's website, here

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