County Might Assume Homelessness Responsibility

McHenry County Board members on the Human Resources Committee last week were not in agreement about whether McHenry County government should assume responsibility to record keeping on the expenditure of Federal homeless alleviation money.

The motion to move forward on accepting a $38,000 grant passed 5-2 with Yvonne Barnes and Diane Evertsen voting, “No.”

The memo appears below:

Board / Committee Action Requested:

Approve a resolution authorizing:

  1. acceptance of a $38,000 grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data services to McHenry County;
  2. creation of a part-time CD Specialist position to manage the HMIS systes; and
  3. an emergency appropriation into the FY2016 budget of the Planning and Development Department, Community Development Division budget.

Background and Discussion:

At the April 14, 2016 full meeting of the McHenry County Continuum of Care to End Homelessness (CoC), Pioneer Center staff reported that the agency no longer has the capacity to continue managing the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) activities on behalf of the CoC.

The HMIS system is a federal requirement for the reporting of outcomes of homeless service providers in McHenry County.

The CoC carefully considered the matter and voted to request that the Community Development (CD) Division of the McHenry County Department of Planning and Development explore the possibility that the grant and associated activities can be transferred from Pioneer Center.

The CD Division is already a grantee under the CoC program for its Planning activities.

On April 26, 2016, the matter was presented to the Planning and Development Committee for the purpose of obtaining guidance on the next steps to take.

The Planning and Development Committee directed CD Division staff to inform the CoC that the County would consider this request.

On May 12, 2016, the CoC voted to pursue the transfer of the HMIS activity to the CD Division pending approval from the McHenry County Board.

The Federal grant award for the HMIS activity consists of three funding line items:

  1. payment of an annual software licensing fee from Bowman Systems;
  2. staff salary and benefits for maintenance of the system; and
  3. training for end users and system administrators.

Impact on Human Resources:

Accepting the grant will increase the CD Division FTE by .5 FTE. A new part-time Community Development Specialist will be hired to perform HMIS related responsibilities. The job description for the CD specialist position is attached. Except for being a part-time hourly position, it is the same job description of the two existing full-time CD Specialist positions. The attached cost analysis was prepared utilizing the New Position Request form for FY2016.

Impact on Budget (Revenue; Expenses, Fringe Benefits):

Acceptance of the grant will increase the CD Division FY2016 revenue and expenditures by$38,000. See the resolution for the detailed budget. The HMIS grant requires a 25%-match of $9,500. The match will be met using existing CDBG revenue including existing expenditures and new expenditures for the part-time CD Specialist. No county general funds are required for the HMIS activity.

The annual salary and benefits for a part-time Community Development Specialist grade 9N position are projected at $23,506 including $21,836 in salary and $1,670 for FICA. The part-time position will not qualify for IMRF or the County’s health insurance. The cost analysis is based on the minimum salary of the position grade.

Impact on Capital Expenditures:

No impact. The CD Division has available computer and office equipment for use of an additional part-time staff position. 

Impact on Physical Space:

No impact. The CD Division has office space available for an additional part-time staff position.

Impact on Other County Departments or Outside Agencies:

The acceptance of this grant will have minimal impact on county budgeting and accounting functions.  The acceptance of this grant will support the integrity of data collected on homeless individuals in McHenry County.  It will greatly benefit McHenry County housing and social service agencies and the homeless individuals that they serve. Without a community partner willing to manage the HMIS activity, the CoC is at risk of losing nearly $1 million in federal funding for essential community housing and social services.

= = = =

The Human Services debate was vigorous.

With Pioneer Center stepping away from the record keeping role as it downsizes to focus on its core mission, Yvonne Barnes wondered if the availability of the grant and its mission had been made widely enough known.

“I think we skipped a step.  We haven’t asked others outside the members of the Continuum of Care,” she said.

Apparently, the only medium where the availability has been publicized is on McHenry County Blog.

Donna Kurtz took up the line of argument that without the record keeping function, County not-for-profits would lose over $1 million in Federal homeless assistance money.

She said it was “a fully funded program that’s extremely important.”

Diane Evertsen wondered if the Salvation Army had been contracted.

Someone mentioned that DuPage and Lake County governments have assumed the function.

Asked how long the function would last, the administrator said, “Until we get rid of homelessness.”

“That’s not going to happen,” Evertsen replied.

A motion to move the proposal to the next committee passed 5-2.

= = = = =

Homelessness was a topic at County Board candidates’ forums conducted by the McHenry County League of Women Voters.

The headline summarizes the candidates’ responses:

County Board Candidates: Ending Homelessness Not County Responsibility

Click on the title to read the article.


County Might Assume Homelessness Responsibility — 9 Comments

  1. Maybe the County should build “tiny homes” along our miles of bike paths for these people then they can take care of themselves.

  2. Why do we have the federal government involved in public school bathrooms?

    Federal tax dollar control – strings.

    Why do we have the federal government involved in where and how much so-called ‘affordable’ housing will be built?

    Federal tax dollar control – strings.

    Acceptance of this grant will impact capital and will impact space (contrary to what is stated).

    If you have a computer available, who pays for the replacement?

    Who pays for the software?

    Who pays for the chair?

    Who pays for the desk?

    Who pays for the paper?

    Who pays for the telephone?

    Who pays the for the heat and A/C?

    Who pays for the building security?

    On and on and on.

    To state there will be no impact is a flat out lie in my opinion.

    Will this so-called part time employee perform other duties within the department and receive insurance / IMRF coverage for those duties?

    Do some studying of COCs and how the homeless are counted. The following is from a HUD document:

    “Extrapolation is a technique for estimating the total number of unsheltered persons in your community based on the number of unsheltered persons that you have been able to observe and/or interview.”

    In other words, there may be zero unsheltered homeless in your community but someone ‘thinks’ there are (my interpretation).

    Donna Kurtz comment:

    “Donna Kurtz took up the line of argument that without the record keeping function, County not-for-profits would lose over $1 million in Federal homeless assistance money.”

    Her comment (tied to the statement by County Administration) is totally meaningless without documentation.

    She also claimed that Township Consolidation would save money.

    She filled the County Board room with people to get a majority of her fellow liberal Republican Board members to approve acceptance of federal tax dollars for Obamacare Navigators on a re-vote (the acceptance was initially turned down – now Anna May Miller is attempting the same ploy to get a re-vote on the Randall Road ‘extravaganza’).

    If it is true that other federal tax grant dollars are at risk for other not for profits, let one of them step forward to do this job.

    This should NOT be a job done by the County.

    If you want to know how extensive the McHenry County ‘safety net’ is for the homeless and hungry: Check out the agencies here:
    Or if you want it in Spanish, click here:

  3. Send them all to Chicago where they can be useful as future Democrat
    voters in the DEMOCRAT declared sanctuary city.

    I’m sure Rahm and his Liberal cohorts will be more than glad
    to take care of them.

  4. NO to growing the McHenry County real estate business and competing with businesses and entities already in place.

    Grants are not free money….geez.

    And please, please stop creating positions and hiring. We have no money. We are taxed to the max.

  5. Buy them all one-way bus tickets to any destination they desire in the lower 48.

  6. Thank you Diane Evertsen and Yvonne Barnes for realizing that this is not the county’s role.

    With every ‘group home’ for the homeless, you have a large building not paying taxes because they’re exempt.

    Do you know what that does to all the other real estate parcels in the area???

    It makes the working middle class’ taxes go up!


  7. While I believe this is not the job of the County, out of self-interest, I support this project.

    Given my recent real estate tax bill, in a few years if this continues I believe I may personally be in need of these homeless services along with a lot of other people.

    May I recommend the County consider a buy back program for all of us in McHenry County who paid too much for our homes.

    This is a way of giving something back directly to those who actually paid into the system all these years.

    Not only should the county end homelessness but the County should end poverty as well.

    Oh, hunger as well and internet for all . . . .

    I am afraid I missed something or left some group out!

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