City of Birmingham offers new pilot scheme to help homeless people thrive

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – Safe sleep is probably something you take for granted, but it’s far from a given, especially for our homeless neighbors. Now the City of Birmingham is stepping up its efforts to improve the lives of these residents.

The city sees the Safe Sleep pilot program as much more than just a temporary housing project. They hope that through the pilot program and the community partnership, they will not only provide places to live, but they will provide opportunities for residents to improve themselves and their circumstances.

“It is a crucial problem. It allows us to encounter something immediate, but it also allows us to think about the way forward,” said Birmingham Community Development Director Dr Meghan Venable Thomas.

In the city leader’s mind, this will include access to health care and programs that could lead to jobs and careers.

“We are thinking about case management, workforce development, health and mental health services in this pilot project as we try to think about the needs of these people and how which we meet those needs,” said Dr. Thomas.

The city council will vote Tuesday on whether to approve the program. If the new program passes, they will work with Pallet Shelter to create up to 100 micro-shelters. The city would then issue a request for proposals to find out who and in what capacity the various organizations plan to help.

“This RFP posting, which will activate our utility providers, and anyone else interested in collaborating to create a proposal to support homeless residents with these micro-shelters and wrap-around services,” said said Dr. Thomas.

The city intends to use grants to make the pilot project a reality.

“We will be supporting funding for this through our CDBG grant, as well as thinking about operational funding through our community development grant. So at this time we don’t have the exact number, but we will work with our operational vendors to see what their budgets will be, to then be able to respond to what those budgets will be,” said Dr. Thomas .

As for when we might see these temporary homes or micro-shelters, Dr. Thomas says we likely won’t see any ribbon cuttings until at least May. All of this is still awaiting City Council approval.

Receive news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.

Comments are closed.