Hermiston City Council Offers Feedback on Project PATH

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The Project PATH Sleep Center located at 80487 N. Highway 395. (Photo by Beau Glynn/Hermiston Herald)

The Hermiston City Council provided feedback Monday night on the strategic plan for Project PATH, the temporary homeless shelter.

City Manager Byron Smith said one of the requirements for state funding for the program is to adopt a five-year strategic plan, which must be in place by June.

Each of the project’s partners – the cities of Hermiston, Stanfield, Umatilla and Echo, along with Umatilla County – are currently reviewing the plan and offering feedback. Smith said Hermiston is on track to adopt the plan next month.

Project PATH is designed to provide Practical Assistance through Transitional Housing (PATH). The intent is to bring together services to assist individuals and families facing homelessness with the objective of moving them into and through transitional housing to permanent housing.

The Project PATH is one of eight pilot projects selected by the state to develop services for the homeless. Each pilot project is receiving $1 million from the state to develop the program. Another project partner, Stepping Stones Alliance, has also received an additional $1.1 million in private and state funds for the project with the possibility of another $1 million coming in the form of a Community Development Block Grant.

Councilor Jackie Linton asked Smith if the program would be able to accommodate families with multiple children. Smith said the intent of the Project PATH is to provide shelter and services for one or two individuals. Larger family units would be put in contact with Martha’s House for shelter services.

“This is only targeting smaller family groups,” said Smith.

Linton also asked about transportation and job search services.

Smith said a van has been made available to pick people up at Hermiston City Hall and take them to the shelter for overnight stays. He said there are discussions with Kayak Public Transit to provide regular transportation to and from the shelter.

Project PATH, said Smith, will also have computers, phones and other services to help individuals with job searches.

Linton also asked how long individuals could stay at the shelter once they find a job.

Smith said there will be no specific timeline for folks to find their own housing.

“We are aware there is a housing shortage,” said Smith. “As long as they are doing what they need to do and are looking for housing, they can stay at the shelter.”

Project PATH has been in the works for about a year, but one member of the audience Monday night said he was caught off guard by the news of the project.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of this,” said Dennis Dickens of Umatilla. “This is basically in my backyard. I worked my whole life. Don’t expect me to pay for someone who is too lazy to work.”

The council is expected to adopt the plan at one of its May meetings.

3 COMMENTS

  1. This is GREAT… I wish this was happening or in the works before my daughter O.D’d and passed away..
    Good Luck to all the ppl that get help and move forward.. STAY STRONG out there…

  2. without a specific timeline to be self sustaining all this will end up being is a tax payer funded FREE HOUSING program.

    If you don’t have a goal set (timeline) then you are setting yourself up for failure

    • This is not a lush resort accommodation hotel it is a minimal individual housing unit.
      Requirement to enroll are a plan to self betterment ultimately to become self sufficient

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