[Vision2020] Sojourners' still looking for funding
moscowcares at moscow.com
Fri Jun 3 03:43:15 PDT 2016
Help our neighbors, Moscow, because it's the right thing to do . . .
One hand washes the other.
Courtesy of today's (June 3, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
Sojourners' still looking for funding
Alliance needs reliable financial commitments after HUD shifts focus
Sojourners' Alliance needs $125,000 to "make ends meet," Steve Bonnar, executive director, told members of the Moscow Fair and Affordable Housing Commission meeting Thursday night.
Sojourners' Alliance is on the losing end of a recent shift in how federal funding is distributed to nonprofits that provide housing to low-income families and the homeless.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is now allocating funds for so-called rapid rehousing programs, instead of transitional housing programs like Sojourners' Alliance.
Sojourners' Alliance is a private, nonprofit organization that provides housing for low-income families. It provides basic services, counseling, education in life and interpersonal skills so those people can be productive members of society again, Bonnar said.
"We need a commitment that we can rely on," Bonnar said.
He asked the commission if it would write a letter to the Moscow City Council asking for help.
"If we're gone, there's no homeless services here in this whole region," Bonnar said.
Bonnar said he plans to write letters to local organizations like St. Vincent de Paul and churches. He said these groups rely on Sojourners' Alliance because they send people to the nonprofit organization.
"HUD is shifting away to what is called a housing-first model," Bonnar said. "That's where you house them and give them support if they need it."
Bonnar said the problem with the rapid rehousing model is there is no structure for the person or families.
Under the transitional housing model, Bonnar said he has had to kick out only one person or family in the last five years. With the new rapid rehousing model, he said, he has already kicked out his fourth household in five months because there is no structure and accountability.
"Transitional housing really provides a good place for those that are outside the norm in society," Bonnar said. "That's what it amounts to."
Bonnar said the most recent case in which he had to kick someone out involved a woman, her son, his girlfriend, their dog and their baby in one bedroom. He said there were holes in the wall and damaged windows that Sojourners' Alliance is responsible for repairing even though the woman violated the lease.
He said the Salvation Army can help 12 households each year but Bonnar said Sojourners' Alliance helps about 50 households each year.
Bonnar said Family Promise of the Palouse helps families, but it rejects people with serious issues. He also said it is a short-term program that gives people about two to three months to get back on their feet.
"Losing this funding has brought it to a head, where we're going to come out the other side much stronger and better, or we're going to close, because we're not going to go back to this middle ground that we've been on for a while," Bonnar said.
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
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