Pauli Halstead: Time for county to fund support for shelters | TheUnion.com

Pauli Halstead: Time for county to fund support for shelters

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Pauli Halstead

There are estimated over a hundred mentally ill homeless people in our county.

I just read the Request for Proposals that the county is shopping around, hoping to find an operator to manage the winter warming shelter for a measly $10,000-15,000 for four months this winter. This amount is not enough to cover the rental expenses for Seaman's Lodge so it can be a dedicated venue, once again throwing Nevada City under the bus.

Listen folks, we have to do better than this. The County Board of Supervisors "and" Grass Valley offered Hospitality House a total of $75,000 to house 15 additional people nightly for five months last winter. They opened their doors at 40 degrees (wet or dry). The winter shelter has to open at least when it's wet. Anything less is inhumane.

Now the county wants the warming shelter operator to manage minimum 30 low-barrier (mentally ill/addicted) folks. Plus the operator has to cover the liability insurance and the workman's comp and also provide all the supplies.

What's going to happen in our neighborhoods without enough security? Our police department wants to get paid additionally for extra officers to help. The police are doing most of the work on a daily basis just managing what they have to do now.

The suggested RFP is totally unacceptable. Once again, the county is trying to foist the care of the most vulnerable onto a nonprofit and Nevada City. Get real!

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These are the people that Health and Human Services Director Michael Heggarty promised to navigate this summer. I sent in a suggested winter navigation agreement that was a lot more thought out and fair, with sufficient funding to cover the need.

The county needs to provide staff at the warming shelter and a cooling shelter as part of its navigation outreach. What happened to that navigation funding?

Are we saving it for a rainy day? Lets use it as needed.

It's really time we made sure the most vulnerable of the homeless population get the necessary funding to protect them during severe weather events. It's obvious to me that the mentally ill/addicted homeless are not equally funded in terms of outreach and emergency support. It's called discrimination.

Pauli Halstead lives in Nevada City.

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