2/24/20 Homeless Shelter Approved For Taylor County
Taylor County took a formal step toward establishing a homeless shelter possibly located in Medford. At Monday’s (February 24) County Board meeting supervisor Mike Bub asked a hypothetical question, if the county had a shelter, could people stay for 5 years, 5 days or how long? Would the county become a magnet as to attract homeless people from areas without a shelter? Mr. Bub expressed his concern over the lack of homeless shelter rules and guidelines prior to applying for a CDBG for funding of a homeless shelter. Housing Authority specialist Jessica Mudgett assured the group that residency is strictly temporary and that once funding was assured, then a nonprofit 501C3 entity would be formed. Guidelines would be implemented with goals to make people self-sustaining.
Illustrating the need for a homeless shelter in Taylor County, the board was told that in the year 2019, a total of 86 individuals were assisted. The ideal size for the shelter would be a 4 bedroom house. The initial budget numbers would allocate $200,000 for the purchase and setup of the home along with $120,000 to cover 2 years of staffing. Additional funding may be available from the United Way. The Salvation Army has pledged to pay the utilities, instead of handing our motel vouchers which they now do. A variety of government grants are available for functioning homeless shelters.
Supervisor Diane Albrecht asked Ms. Mudgett to characterize a homeless Taylor County resident. She started with single moms, that would be followed by people who have been evicted and have no where to stay for the short term. Then she spoke of the “Couch surfers”, people who have been staying with friends and wore out their welcome. She said she’s dealt with people sleeping in their vehicles or taking up residence in storage buildings. In conclusion she said that last week they helped 3 individuals which was the highest weekly total.
The County Board was unanimous in their support of applying for a Community Development Block Grant to fund a homeless shelter in Taylor County. Once the facility becomes functional, the operations would be overseen by the newly organized 501C3 nonprofit. From that point forward the county board would not be involved in the operations of the homeless shelter.