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Craig council seeks more info on homelessness

Request comes before council pursues Emergency Solutions Grant

Council Chambers at City Hall.
City of Craig

Craig city councilors asked community member Hannah Wood to provide more information Tuesday night — such as a business plan, a full grant request amount, and demographics for residents — on a potential emergency transitional housing unit that could help get some provide a solution to the homeless issue in the community this winter.

Wood, who stood before council early in Tuesday’s meeting, presented her plan to council members, stating a desire to set up emergency transitional housing for the homeless, getting them off the streets in the winter.

Prior to Wood’s full presentation to council, she presented a 5-minute video from former Comedy Central report Hasan Minhaj, showing the way Salt Lake City had addressed the homeless issue in 2015.

Following the presentation of the video, Wood asked City Council to have the City of Craig take on the Emergency Solutions Grant application process, which would put the city in charge of applying for the grant.

“I’m asking the city to apply for this grant so that we can get some temporary emergency winter shelter set up,” Wood said. “…I have a letter of intent from Geo Group, which owns the old CAPS building, to lease it from them for $2,500 a month. We would like to get emergency winter shelter set up for six months.”

Wood cited the overnight temperatures in the last few days that reached as low as -25, pushing the need to get the homeless into housing this winter, which should help lessen break-ins and squatting issues in the community.

“We want to get them off the streets with a bed and some food,” Wood said to council. “…Our target population that we are planning on accepting into the shelter – should it be set up – would be single males and single females, for now.

“We don’t view this as a hand out, but a hand up,” Wood added.

Wood also discussed the idea of having a residency requirement for those staying in the housing unit, and addressed concerns of an emergency shelter for the winter driving more homeless to the area.

“I understand that concern, but we have to take care of Moffat County residents, and that’s what this project would target,” Wood said. “These are human beings, regardless of what they have going on.”

Following Wood’s presentation, Councilman Chris Nichols and Councilman Ryan Hess stated that there were a number of questions unanswered, as far as a business plan for the shelter, how much the grant would be for, what utilities would look like at the old CAPS building, and more.

City Manager Peter Brixius also stated that Wood should approach the county and ask commissioners to potentially partner with the coalition leading the charge for an emergency shelter for winter.

Wood is expected to have more information for council at the next meeting on Nov. 10.

COVID CARES REIMBURSEMENT POURING IN

Late at Tuesday’s council meeting, City Finance Director Bruce Nelson provided an update on the CARES Act refunds the city should be seeing as part of their COVID Relief Grant program.

Nelson told councilors that the city recently received a $43,000 reimbursement from the state as part of their recent reimbursement request.

“Reimbursement is happening pretty quickly; we aren’t having any issues so far,” Nelson said. “Once the state is notified that we’ve submitted a reimbursement request that falls under the guidelines, we see the money pretty quickly.”

CITY OPENS EDC MANAGER’S POSITION

During his City Manager Report to council, City Manager Peter Brixius told council that the city is looking for an Economic Development Committee Manager, which will be funded through grants.

Brixius stated that the city recently received a $124,000 grant to fill the position for 18 months, and added the city is looking at another $67,000 grant to help offset costs for the EDC manager.

“We have some good local candidates that are hopefully interested in the position,” Brixius said.


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