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Monroe taking applications for citizens group to look at homeless issues

MONROE — City Hall is going to handle homelessness a little differently in 2019, adding a special task force among its strategies.
Mayor Geoffrey Thomas and the City Council discussed establishing a Homelessness Policy Advisory Committee Jan. 15. Formal approval was scheduled for Jan. 22 after press time. Recruiting starts this week.
The city hopes putting nine to 11 diverse heads together will help end homelessness.
The group will include “a cross section of residents, businesses, faith community, service providers,” according to the proposal.
The ad hoc committee will likely meet once or twice per month starting in March.
Recommendations created by the committee, to be presented by this fall, will be taken into consideration as the city plans its 2020 budget, Thomas said.
The city has already added an embedded social worker to the Police Department, but the complex problem calls for a more comprehensive solution. Not everyone offered help accepts it, and homelessness is often accompanied by mental health, chemical dependency and other issues that complicate a solution, Thomas said.
The group will allow us “to begin to formulate, based on other jurisdictions, and maybe thinking out of the box, how to help people out of homelessness,” Thomas said.
Applications will be available beginning Friday, Jan. 25 through the city clerk and must be submitted by Monday, Feb. 11. For more information, call 360-794-7400 or pick up an application at City Hall at 806. W. Main Street. The mayor will conduct interviews Feb. 21.
The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, March 7, at 6 p.m at City Hall, 806 W. Main St.



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