At the outset of our implementation of the new Metro Supportive Housing Services program, Clackamas County was clear about their cash flow concerns and approach to appropriating funds for the program in the first year. We expected that the Commission’s decision to budget only $10 million (a fraction of the conservative revenue estimate Metro provided last year) would result in slower implementation. Metro advanced Clackamas County $5 million so they would implement the program immediately, instead of waiting for the bulk of the funds to be collected in Q3 and Q4, and were prepared to advance more if they would use it. We also knew about their challenges around hiring and retaining staff. But what we knew doesn’t explain the expenditure numbers we are seeing.
With the first year of implementation now behind us, it is incumbent on the Metro Council, with the Supportive Housing Services Regional Oversight Committee, to identify and daylight the impediments and barriers to spending that existed in Clackamas County in the first year of the SHS program – both operational and political. We will not just monitor investments and programmatic progress, but will use the tools and processes established in this program to ensure transparency and accountability.
Across the program, we have reason to expect outcomes to increase significantly in the coming year, but we all have a role in ensuring that it happens. The people of Clackamas County, and of the Metro region, are expecting results, and we have an obligation to use every tool at our disposal to achieve success as soon as possible.
- Metro Council President Lynn Peterson and Metro Councilor Christine Lewis