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Pooled resources for the homeless proposed

Pooled resources for the homeless proposed

Charlottesville officials plan later this month to consider proposals to pull the city’s resources for the homeless under one organization, according to a request for proposals on the city website.

The request calls for an organization to coordinate city and Albemarle County nonprofit groups in leveraging local, state and federal money to reduce homelessness.

The project is designed to help Charlottesville and Albemarle meet state and federal mandates that localities have mechanisms to coordinate care for the homeless, the request said.

“We believe that a more cooperative approach is currently necessary," officials said in the request.

City officials declined to say Monday how much money the two localities have set aside for the project. Albemarle officials were not immediately available for comment.

The move should give Charlottesville and Albemarle County access to more state and federal money to fight homelessness, said Mike Murphy, Charlottesville's director of human services.

“We are trying to provide some incentive and structure for agencies to come together and provide the kind of structure that we believe the funders at the state and federal level are looking for,” Murphy said.

The move also should get organizations working together before receiving money rather than after, said Jesse Boeckermann, program director at PACEM, a Charlottesville nonprofit group that provides warm beds for the homeless during the winter.

“Instead of collaborating after the fact, you do it beforehand, so when the funding comes out you kind of have an idea and a bigger goal,” he said.

The ultimate goal is to reduce homelessness, said City Councilor Dave Norris. '

“It will look at how we help more of our residents to either avoid falling into homelessness in the first place, or get back into housing as quickly as possible,” Norris said.

PACEM is putting together a response to the request, said Colleen Keller, PACEM executive director.

“The beauty of this is this is a request for proposals asking people to prove they are going to work together toward a goal … to focus on the ends, focus on the solutions to homelessness,” she said.

Proposals are due 5 p.m. Aug. 16. City officials hope to award a contract by October, Murphy said.

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