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  • Tammy L Wells

York County Commissioners okay homeless assistance plan

ALFRED—Agencies that aid homeless people in York County now have a new source of funds to lend a helping hand—one that can help provide support like a security deposit for an apartment or, designed to benefit the homeless, a car repair so they can get to work and keep their homes.


About a year ago, the York County Budget Committee added $125,000 to the 2024 York County operational budget to help combat homelessness. York County Manager Greg Zinser met with municipal managers, but there was little consensus on how best to help those without a roof over their heads. That led to discussions with the York County Homeless Response Hub – a group of social service agencies from throughout the county – and a proposal.


The $125,000 will go toward helping with housing placement and to diversion funding, which helps keep people in their homes.


According to Abigail Smallwood, the York County Homeless Hub Response Coordinator, funding would initially be split between placement and diversion, tracked and assessed, and then adjusted based on feedback and experience. The cap per household would be $2,000. In the proposal, Smallwood estimated at least 50 households could be served.


“Support would consist of a one-time payment that addresses the main issue preventing someone from being placed in housing or remaining in housing,” Smallwood wrote.

Diversion situations would be taken on a case-by-case basis and those, along with some placement expenses, would go through case conferencing.


The initial split offers $54,625 for placement and $54,625 for diversion, with $15,750 set aside for administrative costs.


When possible, York County funds would be used to supplement other, existing funding sources when those are inadequate. Smallwood wrote that while there are a number of resources available, they often do not go far enough to cover the need; the county funding would cover the gap.


York County Community Action Corporation would administer the funds, and financial awards for placement and diversion would be tracked on the Homeless Management Information System.


Zinser told York County Commissioners on May 15 that YCCAC would work with all area providers.


Commissioner Justin Chenette wondered if more people could be helped if all of the funds were to go to placement rather than a combination of placement and diversion. “I have no doubt the recommendation (from the Hub) is solid… but that would maximize reach,” he said.

Zinser said a car repair that allows someone to go to work and keeps the roof over their head is as critical as placement.


“If people lose their houses, they lose a lot; it's more than one thing,” said Commissioner Richard Clark, adding that he believed keeping the diversion piece was important.


Zinser suggested letting the York County Homeless Response Hub know that commissioners would be amenable to transferring some funding between the two portions of the program.


“It gives them flexibility and assures us we are helping as many people as possible,” said Chenette of that option. “I’m fine with that.”


The vote was unanimous.




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