Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TAP and Consortium of Homeless Agencies Vie for Stimulus – Rosen, Price and Lea Respond on Their “No” Vote

With $756,000 of federal stimulus money requiring an application no later than May 18 both TAP and a consortium of agencies made their arguments for how best they could serve the “soon to be” homeless in Roanoke City. Currently there are gaps and little coordination between the many agencies who serve those on the verge of homelessness. The re-housing resource center would be modeled after Central Intake in Richmond. The agencies are now banning together for the central resource center in the hopes that the stimulus funds will give them the boost they need to resolve the deficiencies in service. Agencies of the consortium who spoke as one in support were Chair Paula Prince of the Roanoke Regional Allegheny Advisory Committee on Homelessness, Blue Ridge Independent Living Center, Presbyterian Community Center, Interfaith Shelter Providers, and the Counsel of Community Services.

A HMIS (Homeless Management Information System)  tracking system would be expanded and every participant in the new Resource Center would be tracked in real-time identifying exactly where they are in the process. Three staff members would be hired. Start-up and continued case management would take up about 15% of the funding. TAP’s President, Ted Edlich, though in the submitted application to city administration had $38,000 for administrative costs explained they could and would use all the stimulus money for only individual needs. Edlich later said “there would be no administrative costs” emphasising “zero.” 

Councilman Dave Trinkle asked Eldrich “how is that possible?” Edlich replied, “we are very efficient.” Trinkle pointed  out the difference between the applications was that TAP would primarily provide housing assistance but do only some case management. Tinkle paroozed the application saying he did not see any reference to TAP’s use of the HMIS tracking system. Eldrich assured Trinkle he would revise the application to include it.

All member’s of Council were conflicted and uncomfortable with the lack of “kumbaya” as Councilwoman Anita Price put it. Ultimately the vote was 4 to 3 in favor with Price, Rosen, and Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea voting “no.”

Councilman Court Rosen had a concern on the administrative costs to start and the sustainability after 3 years use of the stimulus funding. Rosen favored TAP. An email response on his “no” vote:

My vote had nothing to do with Tap. Two major concerns:

I believe the intent of the stimulus money is to help as many people as possible, during times of layoffs and underemployment, avoid homelessness. The CHRC will spend about 15% on overhead and administration which I do not think was the spirit and intent of the stim funds.

Second reason is that this idea, which I think is a great idea and absolutely one we should push forward, was first a goal in 2006. Organizations did not consolidate and come up with money to start the resource center then, which causes me to worry that when the stim money runs out it will be difficult to sustain. Again, a great idea, just don’t want the city to end up subsidizing in three years.

All this said, and a majority having voted to move forward, I am fully behind the center and will do whatever I can to help make sure it is a success and that the CCS and other partner orgs are able to transform the way we deal with homelessness

Councilwoman Anita Price responded in an email explaining:

I do feel that TAP is already in the “business” of service provider; did not feel comfortable in using funds  as a start  up provider when we have an agency to provide the service. And the  operational costs, 5% vs 15% – I would hope that that translates to funneling more monies to the program and people that to administrative  costs.  I’m sure it will work out OK – also hope and pray that ALL  agencies in the end will work and collaborate to make this more  productive for it’s intented attendance: the homeless community.

Vice-Mayor Lea was disappointed in his colleagues vote saying in an email:

TAP has proven itself, would not need a lot of Administrative cost. Yes the Council of Community Service was very much aware that they had submitted a proposal. 

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Finance, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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