By Tanner Hall


County government is prepared to apply for grants to support its homeless program while a startup organization waits for official nonprofit status.

Advocates for the homeless are targeting more than $75,000 in grants over the next several months. 

The Housing Equality Resources and Education organization is set to manage the county’s homeless program but has not yet attained 501(c)(3) status.

County Manager Don Adams told commissioners Tuesday he is helping HERE organize its finances and board liability insurance. HERE hopes to have two employees on the payroll by September: founder and Board of Directors President Destri Leger, and Bob Cochran, former director of Jackson County’s Department of Social Services and current case manager for the homeless program.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners budgeted $130,000 for HERE in its 2019-20 budget. Additional funding, such as grants, will be necessary to accomplish HERE’s goals.

“We’re looking to end homelessness in Jackson County, specifically by expanding the emergency shelter program and by providing year-round housing-focused case management services,” Leger told the Herald last month. “Our focus is on determining why people have not been permanently housed until this point and what do we do to house them and keep them housed.”