Atransitional home for the homeless just may be a grant and a site away from reality.

In mid-March, the Eureka City Council selected the project for its 1998 Community Development Block Grant application. (Councilman Jack McKellar dissented.) Word on the two-year, $1 million grant is expected by July 1.

In the meantime, the council will select a permanent location for the county-wide facility, known as the Multiple Assistance Center. That hearing is scheduled for June 16 .

The field of possible sites has been narrowed to four: a vacant lot on Hawthorne Street across from City Garbage Co. and the Eureka Chamber of Commerce, a vacant lot on Cedar Street near Broadway, the Fireside Inn on R Street and Humboldt Door and Window at 139 Y St. across from Montgomery Ward.

The owners of the two vacant lots have expressed interest in selling to the city but have not committed to the idea.

"They're still assessing their options," said Sandra Corcoran, Eureka's MAC coordinator.

Corcoran, hired with a state grant to coordinate the project, said site selection prior to approval of the grant eases the planning schedule. The city has 90 days after the July 1 grant notification to secure a site.

The Coalition for Transitional Housing's preference, Corcoran said, favors a site with buildings. The coalition, a successor to the Humboldt Homeless Initiative, is a volunteer group of private and elected people.

After site selection, the next step will be choosing a nonprofit organization to run the center, Corcoran said.

The MAC facility -- designed to move people from homelessness to self-sufficiency -- will be a one-stop location for services and information and provide short-term transitional housing for those enrolled in center programs.

Organizers hope to have space for a commercial kitchen, dining area, children's play area, group meeting space, office, showers, restrooms, laundry facilities, lockers and outdoor areas for both children and adults.

Corcoran said the first choice is a site with an existing building. The hope is to open the center by early 1999 or, if a building has to be designed and built, by early 2000.



The North Coast Journal Table of Contents