Will the new measure help the homeless?
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 23:28:43 GMT —
COLUMBIA (WACH) - Columbia City Council voting Tuesday on a measure some believe will get the capital city's homeless the services they need.
Council members voting voting 4 to 1 to hire a person to coordinate homeless services in the Midlands.
Organizations, agencies, and service providers will submit proposals arguing why they should be chosen and possibly be issued a contract.
It's something residents hope works.
"The hope here is that by having a coordinated, constantly monitored, approach, where data can be collected and we can know that there are ten beds on one night in a given location, if we need five children's beds, we can idenitfy those." says Robert Wynn of the Arsenal Hill Neighborhood Association.
The Central Midlands Council of Governments is the one who actually chooses which groups will be awarded contracts.
The City of Columbia will be the default funder for all these coordination efforts...
That's why councilman Cameron Runyan, who voted against the measure, spoke out against it.
"We're basically paying for a whole lot of stuff that we have built up an enormous infrastructure with the community, leveraging the power of the community and the humanity of this city and the humanity of the church. So if y'all want to put this out, that's fine. I think it is a road to ruin." said Cameron Runyan during the Columbia City Council meeting.
One of the leaders at Transitions homeless shelter in Columbia didn't specify which approach he thinks is the best, the old way or the new, but it was clear that when it comes to a shelter's success, coordination is key.
"If we don't work together, some people have services, and we have over 25 partners who come into Transitions to try to help people find a permanent solution. So we can't do everything ourselves. You've got to work together." says Craig Curry, the CEO of Transitions homeless shelter.
"Think of it as the NCAA or the SEC. How many other teams make up the SEC? They all report to, they all follow the same rules and guidelines, but they all play their game in the best manner possible." explains Wynn.
An outcome many hope will come with this new direction, so it can mean a win for those who need it most.