Homeless plan cuts funds for transitional housing

KING 5's Ryan Takeo reports.

SEATTLE - This week Seattle, King County, and the United Way announced its plans to tackle homelessness.

Consultants are trying to shake up a disjointed and sometimes inefficient system. They recommended a “by name” system that centralizes who needs what services and also prioritizing families and those who have been homeless the longest. They also recommended changes to the funding process that would reward top performers based on data.

One of the low performers included a transitional housing facility named Columbia Court. It is run by the Low Income Housing Institute in the Central District.

LIHI was sent by a letter from All Home, which used to be known as the Committee to End Homelessness. The letter informed LIHI it would not receive $37,000 in funding it requested because of its low performance.

LIHI is upset its facility is being designated as low-performing. Columbia Court residents are families that must have documentation of being homeless. They can stay at the transitional housing for up to two years while getting help from a case manager. 13 families stay there.

But the funding that appears to be going away is to pay for a case manager, like Chantress Campbell.

“In turn, a lot of families would be lost,” she said, adding she believes there’s a place for transitional housing.

As a whole, the consultants did not like the transitional housing model. They cited it’s price tag.

“The transitional housing for families was three times as expensive as rapid re-housing for families,” said Megan Schatz of Focus Strategies Thursday.

Rapid re-housing programs pay for three-to-nine months of rent, usually in market rate housing, explained Schatz.

Campbell worried that’s not long enough to get some back on their feet, especially considering Seattle’s expensive housing market.

“Three months is not a lot of time to find employment for someone who’s been homeless for two years,” she said.

Copyright 2016 KING


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