by Richard Lieberman
At the September 9th City Council meeting Alex D. McIntyre, City Manager presented a proposal to authorize the City manager to hire a full time Outreach Homeless Services Worker to be assigned to the city for a period of 19-months.
McIntyre explained,” When consistent outreach and engagement with the homeless population occurs, unsheltered individuals are much more likely to be receptive to available services and start their journey into shelters and permanent housing.” Currently there is no outreach worker for anyone in the homeless population to connect with making it less likely for a homeless individual to seek available services. When anyone in the homeless population reaches out to city staff, the Ventura Police Patrol Task Force or the Downtown Ambassadors there is currently no dedicated outreach worker to contact. “This outreach worker funded in partnership with the County, will be responsive to the various aid groups and will be able to refer directly to our year-round shelter, “he added.
He also added,” Proactive outreach is a necessary tool to support the efforts of our upcoming shelter and build relationships with homeless individuals in our community. The City relies heavily on local social service groups to provide outreach; however due to funding trends there is not a strong base of outreach workers who are not tied to heavy caseloads. Currently there are only nine social workers for the entire county of Ventura, all who work reactively rather than proactively due to the large homeless population and lack of adequate grant funding.”
The new position will be an employee of the County Human Services Agency. The goal of this new position is to keep the outreach worker on the streets five days a week, connecting with new and current homeless individuals. The new outreach worker will help with setting up appointments, registering the homeless in programs and reducing barriers towards permanent housing.
Counsel Considers Extension of Outside Counsel Services to Represent City in a Lawsuit Filed September 19, 2014.
The City Attorney Gregory G. Diaz requested the City to extend a legal services agreement with the law firm of Best, Best and Krieger LLP in the amount of $1,300,000 to continue representation.
The lawsuit filed by the Santa Barbara Channelkeeper against the State Water Resources Control Board and the City of Ventura is to seek immediate relief relating to the City’s use of water from the Ventura River. The City has been litigating this case since it was filed on September 23,2014 and continues to this date.
It is important to recognize that Ventura River water is an essential part of the city’s water supply. The City has maintained water rights on the Ventura River for more than a century. The city filed a cross-complaint in September 2018 seeking to bring into the law suit all other cities that use water from the Ventura River. The court agreed with the city that it could bring in other users of the river water supply.
The costs of this lawsuit most significantly occur in the area of the scientists and experts needed to appropriately evaluate the watershed, and the sensitive species and habitat and develop a judicial solution to the matter. The city’s attorneys have requested a more accurate and detailed report on the Ventura River Basin to show the effects of ground water pumping on River flows, and the impact of dams and other diversions upon the river flows and habitat.
At this crucial time in the lawsuit the city attorney is recommending the city counsel authorize an additional $1,300,000. The council approved the recommendation. The City Attorney added, “We recognize that this is going to continue to be a complicated, complex and expensive ligation matter; however it is one that is important to the City in order to protect its water rights to ensure and adequate water supply is available for city users, while also addressing the needs of the environment.