Comments on concerns about the proposed transitional housing

HHV’s proposed transitional transition living center for 5 women is one of the few concrete steps I know of to help the homeless. Instead of finding ways why it can’t work we should be working to make it work. Yes, emergency housing is a high priority need, however, the City has stymied efforts to create emergency housing. Joan Stembridge makes an excellent point that many different programs are needed to address homelessness of which the proposed transitional housing could be one.

My understanding is the proposed transitional housing provides stability and an opportunity for women to work towards finding permanent housing in a manner similar to Family Promise’s efforts to provide transitional housing for families.

It is mentioned that HHV’s proposal does comply with best practices for addressing homelessness at a community level. HHV’s intent with the farmhouse proposal is not to address our community’s homeless issue. There is not a one size fits all solution to address homelessness. Instead many different solutions are needed. HHV’s farmhouse is one of many solutions.

Megan Roller comments on having an on-site coordinator I feel is an apples to oranges comparison. I suspect the population she had experience with will be different than the population the proposed transitional housing will serve. My impression is that the women served by the proposed housing will be older and more mature. I don’t know if the women in the shelter Megan had experience with were screened before being admitted; My understanding is that Arches will screen the women to insure that they are a good fit for the program and will benefit from it. HHV will have a handbook with rules of conduct. HHV makes it clear that if a client persists in not complying with the rules of behavior they will be asked to leave. The goal is to help women transition to permanent housing and they don’t want an individual to negatively impact the success of the other women in the program.

My understanding is that the program will have mechanisms to resolve disagreements. An on-call manager will be available as well as other resources.

Access to resources, including transportation has been mentioned as an issue. This issue is known to HHV and, I believe, they are prioritizing women who have their own transportation.

I do not know if the program will accept women exiting an abusive relationship. It makes more sense for them to go to an established program that provides housing for abused women.

If the transitional housing program fails, UUCS will assume title to the farmhouse. There are other options besides renting or selling the farmhouse. Addendum #4a of the resolution says:

“The Farmhouse will be constructed in a manner that enables UUCS, upon reversion, to modify the facility to meet its needs without major renovation expense. The Board may request approval of any architectural design or drawing to certify that the Farmhouse construction meets this requirement.”

Although the farmhouse is presented as a liability in the materials for Congregational meeting, the Board recognizes that UUCS the farmhouse can be an asset. If ownership reverts to UUCS it can be used to benefit members and our community. It could be used for the high school RE program, provide space needed for adult RE programs, become a community meeting space or rented for events. The garage could be used for storage which we desperately need. A housing allowance is part of a minister’s compensation and is negotiated in their employment contract. A housing allowance is typically between 20-30% of a minister’s salary. If we had a parsonage UUCS could reduce expenses.

One commenter asked if transitional housing is the best use of the property and mentioned that the social justice and facilities teams need to develop strategic plans before proceeding. My professional experience has shown that a clear vision and mission, the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and the ability to learn are more important than a strategic plan.

I feel it is important to be true to our principles.