I am the new Executive Director of the Marion County Homeless Council and wanted to reach out to you to both introduce myself and dispel some misinformation about our agency. The Marion County Homeless Council is the lead agency (also known as the Collaborative Applicant) for Marion County. In this role, we are recognized by HUD and the State (Office on Homelessness) as the only agency eligible to submit for specific grant funding streams (HUD CoC NOFA, State ESG/Challenge and TANF grants) for this community. During this current funding cycle the applications submitted through our role as Lead Agency/Collaborative Applicant, brought in over $ 588,000.00 of funding commitments for Marion County. This funding is used to both lift individuals and families out of homelessness and into housing and to prevent homelessness among those struggling to make ends meet.
As you may have read in the newspaper or heard from others, that role of our agency is in the process of changing. A vote to move the Lead Agency responsibility to a joint office under the City and County went through on June 25, 2019. This will not be a quick or immediate change. At the most recent meeting with the newly forming joint office it was discussed that no changes are expected to occur until well into January. At that meeting, it was discussed January may even be an aggressive estimate of time.
The current process for changing this role includes obtaining approval of both the City Council and County Commission. This includes an approval of cost for bringing in a third party to facilitate a transition team. Once the transition team is approved and in place (current timelines indicate this should be around October of 2019), then the work begins to identify how to transition the responsibilities without disrupting services. At the same time, HUD has to review the minutes, MOU’s and other documents related the change and the State has asked for a full plan to be submitted and approved before committing to work with the agencies to start the transition.
In the interim, the Marion County Homeless Council continues to be a fully functioning agency that provides both direct care services and remains in the role of Collaborative Applicant/Lead Agency for the Marion County Homeless Continuum of Care. In this role, we will continue in our efforts to community responsiveness and funding to address homelessness. Once the role of lead agency/Collaborative Applicant ends, our agency intends to remain open and continue with our role of providing direct services in the community.