[Vision2020] Social Services seeks extra funding in wake of Sojourners' troubles

Moscow Cares moscowcares at moscow.com
Thu Jun 23 05:01:24 PDT 2016

As Latah County leads the way.

The City of Moscow's response: "   "

Courtesy of today's (June 23, 2016) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with a very, VERY special thank you to Latah County Social Services.

Social Services seeks extra funding in wake of Sojourners' troubles
County department handles indigent assistance
The Latah County Social Services Department requested additional funding Wednesday in its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year to help with housing and utility costs during the temporary - and possibly permanent - closure of Sojourners' Alliance.
The department, which handles the county's indigent needs by providing money for medical, hospital, mental health, burials, housing and utility services, made the request during a budget presentation to the Latah County Commissioners.
The department's overall $531,661 budget request for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, is an increase of $17,500 from 2015-16. Henrianne Westberg, clerk/auditor/recorder for the county, said the increase isn't bad considering it includes bringing Veterans' Services into the department and possible assistance for Sojourners' Alliance.
The proposed budget for indigent housing increased by $18,000 to $30,000. Westberg said the increase is to prepare for a possible influx of people seeking assistance with the closure of Sojourners' Alliance.
In a budget presentation Monday, Steve Bonnar, executive director for the transitional housing facility, said Sojourners' Alliance will be closing Sept. 1 for a tentative two-month-long period. If adequate funding cannot be secured by then, the opening date may be pushed back, he said.
"This is anticipating people leaving Sojourners' (and) having nowhere to go and landing at the county needing assistance," Westberg said.
While Sojourners' Alliance and the Department of Housing and Urban Development are providing current residents with assistance to find stable housing come the temporary closure, Richard Walser, chair of the board of county commissioners, said he thinks everyone can agree the county wants to help.
The commissioners also discussed taking some of the additional funding requested for the indigent housing and utilities and putting it in a separate fund to be used at the discretion of the commissioners. He said it could work as a way to offer assistance to those who don't fit the guidelines required of the indigent fund, but still need help during the closure of the center.
"I'd prefer to have the discretionary line because it gives us a little more flexibility," Walser said. "Since Sojourners' future is cloudy, and let's say that program got going again and they needed a little more money, we could help in some way."
Westberg said she will have to discuss the possibility of a discretionary fund with the county prosecutor before that could be done.
The department is also asking for $100,000 to deal with an increase in mental holds. In 2015, $82,000 was spent by the county on mental health holds, Westberg said.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" 
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

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