Thursday, October 8, 2009

News10 reports city and county have provided $360,000 between them for shelter this winter

A News10 report earlier today tells us that, between them, the city and county have now contributed aproximately $360,000 for a winter homeless shelter, with the mayor's policy board hoping to, somehow, raise another $80,000 for the effort. That would bring $440,000 total to the effort to shelter 150 or 200 people for four months.

Michelle Steeb, leader of an ad hoc committee for the city/county to figure out how to provide chilly-season shelter, and director of St. John's Homeless Shelter, is quoted, saying, "Cal Expo is an option, but it's much more expensive than some of the other options that we're looking at."

"Because we're not going to have as much money as we had last year or in years past, we need to be more economical," Steeb said. "We need to look at more economical solutions. Cal Expo is not off the table, but it's just very expensive to run winter shelters out of Cal Expo."

Last year, Overflow at Cal Expo, run chaotically and with daunting inefficiently by VOA, acted as a night jail, keeping homeless people off the streets from 4:00pm until about 7:00am the next morning. Shelters that act to "warehouse the rabble" [using John Irwin's phrase] will be fought by many in the homeless community if they come again. Homeless people should not be subjected to lock-up if they haven't been convicted of breaking the law.

At the end of the 2008-2009 chilly season, a million dollars was provided by the city to shelter refuge homeless from Tent City which was rousted and closed. That money was misspent, with the homeless getting little in the way of services for the huge amount in funds passed forward to VOA.

It is expected that VOA will get the contract to run whatever shelter for the winter is created for the 2009-2010 season.

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