The City Council last week arrived at what may be the best resolution that could be hoped for in the case of a grant to the group that operates the Ashland Community Resource Center.
The city's Housing and Human Services Commission originally recommended a grant of $40,000 to Options for Housing Residents of Ashland to support the center, which helps residents as well as transients find jobs and housing. When the recommendation reached the City Council, some members raised questions about the OHRA board president, who also served on the HHS Commission and participated in its discussion of grant requests.
Councilors also had concerns about OHRA's operations, questioning its lack of a strategic plan and the need for nonprofit agencies to develop their own fundraising to limit reliance on city grants.
Regardless of the reasons, the council's decision to slash the grant award from $40,000 to $4,000 was heavy-handed, as we said at the time. Supporters of OHRA left councilors hear about their disappointment in the decision.
The Resource Center may have room for improvement, but it provides essential services to a population of people presenting one of Ashland's most intractable problems — homeless people and travelers — and the city would be hard-pressed to make headway on that issue without the work OHRA does.
Last week, the council voted to partially restore the grant to $22,000 — a little better than half the original recommendation. That's less than the organization had wanted, but it's a great deal better than $4,000.