The October 5, 2016, Cuyahoga County Health, Human Services and Aging meeting was one of the shortest committee meetings in recent memory, as there was only one item on the agenda. However, that one item was important. Over the past two years, the county executive has taken a very aggressive stance on workforce development and ensuring that county citizens are able to overcome any hurdles that they may have to finding and keeping employment. To that end, the Office of Homeless Services has been very busy seeking to integrate support systems for homeless individuals into the workforce plan. Shari Weir, program officer for Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, delivered testimony about the extension of a program contract with Frontline Services for transitional housing at North Point, located at 1550 Superior Avenue. The building was purchased by the City of Cleveland and, by agreement, has been operated by Cuyahoga County. The county has issued two four-year RFPs for organizations to run North Point, and both times, Frontline was selected. The building has beds for 160 men, and it is almost always at capacity. According to a recent study, the average length of stay is five-and-a-half months (168 days).
As the second contract ended September 30, 2016, the Budish Administration asked for a one-year extension until September 30, 2017. The county will pay $1,222,993 for the additional year. Another RFP will be prepared and released in early to mid-2017. Councilman Miller asked about national trends related to transitional housing, to which Ms. Weir answered that the United States Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is moving away from transitional housing, but that this location remains important because one of the primary goals of the shelter is to eliminate barriers to housing and then sustain enough income to transition into a more sustainable housing situation. This aligns with the county workforce strategy under the Budish Administration. Worth noting, as of August 1, single women who are employed or seeking employment are also able to stop by North Point to be served by the program.
The resolution was unanimously approved out of committee and will head to the full council for consideration.