Deschutes County’s Coordinated Houseless Response Office (CHRO), funded by a $1 million grant, has requirements that need to be met.
Are those goals being met? Well, that depends on who within CHRO you ask.
Deschutes County Commissioner Patti Adair is the chair of the board that oversees CHRO. Cheyenne Purrington is the CHRO director.
Adair said “it’s debatable” when asked if Purrington was accomplishing what she has been asked to do by the board.
When we pressed Adair on what exactly the board has asked Purrington to do, she said, “Well we’ve had lots of questions. Originally I asked for a budget, so we did see a budget. We’ve asked for a lot of things.”
Aside from establishing a budget, holding a planning meeting and helping with a Central Oregon Villages project, Adair could not point to an accomplishment so far from the $1 million grant.
The CHRO has just one full-time staff member. That’s Purrington.
Chris Ogren is a part-time employee helping out. He’s working about 15 hours a week, according to Purrington.
Purrington told us the office is on track with the grant requirements. She claims over half of the goals are completed, but more could be done if she had more help. She said she has requested two full-time staff members aside from herself.
Adair, after being asked three times if she was aware of the staffing requests, gave this as her clearest answer:
“There is somebody else on her list, but I don’t believe anything has gone out for that position,” Adair said.
Bend City Councilor Megan Perkins, who is also the vice-chair of the CHRO board, says she thinks the process could be more developed by now.
“I do have a lot of frustration and worry that we are not farther along with both our strategic plan but also just in general with the coordinated office and our community,” said Perkins.
She’s clearly frustrated with a lack of progress.
“I don’t feel fully comfortable in that I understand what happens with the coordinated office every day,” Perkins said.
As for one thing that could make operations better, a requirement written into the grant that was supposed to be done in the first 90 days includes defining roles for each board member. Perkins said that goal not been met.
“We really need to, on a fundamental level, determine what the City of Bend does, what the City of Redmond does, what the county does, and then we can go from there,” Perkins said.