Birmingham City Council Highlights 1.10.23
Here are a few of the legislative highlights from Tuesday’s Birmingham City Council meeting, in case you missed it.
On Tuesday the Birmingham City Council unanimously approved a landmark transitional housing agreement, the first step in a new initiative to alleviate chronic homelessness across the city. The pilot program is being called, “Home For All.”
The Council approved a bid from Pallet for 50 shelters (that can accommodate two people), five restroom units and three community rooms. These transitional housing units will be available to residents in need of shelter, and will be equipped with heating/air conditioning, bedding, electrical outlets and more.
On any given day in Jefferson County, there are roughly 950 unhoused residents, with about a third of them sleeping without shelter. The City will be using federal Community Development Block Grant funding to support the program and shelter costs, and is currently seeking proposals from organizations to help provide wrap around services for the residents that utilize the transitional housing community. The cost for the shelters, restrooms and community units is roughly $1 million.
Pallet is an industry leader for this type of shelter and has built 63 transitional housing communities across the United States. As it stands, no locations for the proposed community have been decided, rather the City will be working closely with organizations and community stakeholders to determine where the units will eventually be located. According to the timeline presented on Tuesday, officials are hoping to complete the RFP process for service providers and deploy the units in May 2023.
“I was very proud to be involved with this process today and to see the passion and compassion from each of my colleagues as we discussed this project,” Council President Wardine Alexander said. “It’s very encouraging to see that the City is giving the time and resources to find a solution to a problem that impacts us all. This transitional housing will be the first step to providing an improved quality of life to some of our residents and give them the help they need to find a successful path forward.”
Councilors expressed a need to include community members in discussions on programing, services and location of the new transitional housing community.
“I want the community to understand that what’s being presented is not a silver bullet solution. It is the beginning of a conversation and one that every member of the community should feel like they have a part in,” Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said. “The goal is to actually create a solution that is going to have a lasting benefit on people’s lives…I think there is a moral directive here and we need to be doing this simply because it is the right thing to do. I don’t need any more reason than that to support this pilot program.”
Here is the item as it appeared on Tuesday’s agenda:
ITEM 9. A Resolution accepting and approving the bid of Pallet PBC, Everett, Washington, for transitional housing for the homeless as needed, at the unit prices on file in the office of the Purchasing Agent, for a period of one (1) year guaranteed with the option of renewal, contingent upon Council approval for the Community Development Department, this being the most responsive and responsible bid submitted.
The Council voted to appoint Reginald Coleman and David Turner to the Industrial Development Board. They will be replacing the seat of Willie Casey and Stanley Turner, respectively. Mr. D. Turner’s term will expire on April 10, 2024 and Mr. Coleman’s term will expire on April 10, 2026.
The goal of the Industrial Development Board is to acquire, enlarge, improve, replace, own, lease and dispose of properties that may promote industry, develop trade and further use of agriculture products.