907 E Main St, Johnson City, TN info@daveforjc.com 423.943.2581

Homelessness Policy Proposal I

Silently headlining the discussion on local homelessness is a single topic that we as a collective body have failed to properly address.  Funding, information dissemination, land, and other issues are important topics, but they should not be the front line of a collective discussion – in reality, these are all symptoms of a root cause. The root of many of our challenges in response efforts is, simply put, a lack of coordination.

Many efforts have been made over the years to unite services under one simple model, most recently with ARCH, but the evidence is clear that we have not united as intended. Instead of moving as a coordinated team, local organizations and the city individually pursue our goals, meeting occasionally, such as in the Johnson City Joint Task Force (whose measure of success depends on who you ask). Many services overlap and many gaps in care present themselves due to this ‘tangle of services’ as opposed to a well-threaded safety net.

Couple this fact with the city’s unique position – the city’s relationship with nonprofits is at a very low point, perhaps an all-time low.  The city’s optics on homelessness cooperation are equally low.

Taking this climate into account, I have a proposal that will shift us to a more coordinated playing field, rebuild trust between the city and our local organizations, and of course publicly show our teamwork throughout the process. My proposal is the creation of a new position within our Municipality – a position known as Aid Procurement Coordinator, or City Liaison.

  • Liaison: The first goal of the APC will be to serve as the communications point between the city and local nonprofits. This individual should develop an intimate understanding of the operations and needs of all area nonprofits. In coordination with area organizations and the City Commission, the liaison will play a critical role in drafting potential long-term city response and involvement in any community efforts.
  • Aid Procurement: The second goal of the APC will be to serve as a donation checkpoint between local businesses and local nonprofits. As an official with an intimate understanding of the needs of area nonprofits, the APC will be uniquely qualified to solicit and coordinate potential donations and discounted services from local businesses seeking to donate. This, of course, does not replace the need for individuals to donate to their local nonprofits; rather, this will give area organizations a long-term advocate in the local business sector.

With a city representative in the mix, we can keep a finger to the pulse of response efforts and coordinate aid where it is most effective without forcing compromise or infringing on the independence of our area’s diverse nonprofit organizations.

4 Comments on “Homelessness Policy Proposal I

  1. Homelessness Policy Proposal – in reading your proposal, all you’re talking about is having a person on staff With the city to help communicate between the nonprofits. And this should help serve the homeless better? I’m not sure what the goal is here. Homeless people come in from other states because how much there is to offer here already. There’s nothing in your proposal to help the homeless no longer be homeless. Please tell me what I’m missing please tell me what I’m missing.

    • You bring up a good point – adding a city employee to the mix of resources is by no means a “special sauce” to magically cure homelessness. This is merely ‘Step 1’ of a series of proposals to move us toward a broad goal.

      I know that’s broad and doesn’t clarify much of anything – I do have detailed answers to your concerns, and I will get back to you with an appropriate reply within a week.

      Offline for wedding anniversary. 🙂

  2. I wrote to you on your website and didn’t get a response, but this basically is what I was asking about— your thoughts on what efforts and plans you had to help the issue! I am unclear as to the plan details, but I do like where you are headed. Once funding was covered— could old buildings be renovated, but retain some character, and utilized for housing? It’s a large project to tackle but with drive and the right network of connections and the resources— it can be accomplished. I will be looking forward to your progress and hoping for the best. Godspeed.

    • I apologize for that – This is a one-man operation, and the software I’m using for this site seems to just do what it wants regardless of what I have to say about it. I can’t find any missed messages but I’ll keep looking!

      As for plan details, it’s all a living document that’s constantly evolving as I have open discussion with constituents and local nonprofit leaders. I have a general idea of where we need to go, but this is not my area of expertise and I’d be a fool to pretend it was. I’m just someone stubborn enough to keep chipping at it.

      One of the biggest hurdles to repurposing buildings is our insurance – the city’s insurance will not allow the city to own or operate property containing substandard housing (a term that would apply to most emergency shelters). It’s been years since that opinion was conveyed to the city, so it may have changed, but as of info available today that’s where the city stands.

      Personally I’d like to tell them to kick rocks and pursue a new insurance policy; utilizing vacant property is such an opportunity to do good without putting a burden on taxpayers. Organizations like a Haven of Mercy are in dire need of expansion, but without the city’s blessing they are boxed in. They are willing to build from the ground up if the city would just lease/give them land. I’m of the opinion that we can easily $0-lease some empty property to local shelter organizations, let them build to suit, and watch our local homeless efforts multiply.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *