Michael Bushnell

An RFP (Request For Proposal) that would have created a $7.1 million low barrier shelter at Hope Faith Ministries, 705 Virginia Ave.,died during Thursday’s city council meeting on an 8-2 vote, rejecting the original RFP and issuing a new, thirty-day RFP that dictates collaboration with the city’s Neighborhood and Community Services Department. 

The ordinance (#240046) was originally introduced last fall by Mayor Quinton Lucas and was immediately met with community opposition citing a lack of transparency and community engagement in the RFP process as well as the number of homeless advocacy organizations already in existence in Northeast.

In February of this year, after a series of packed-house meetings with residents demanding the plan be scaled back and services be offered in other areas of the city, the ordinance was sent back to committee for reorganization. 

The new council resolution, #240015, voted on last week states: “Directing the City Manager to reject all proposals, cancel RFP EV3180 and reissue a similar RFP that shall remain open for 30 days; and directing the City Manager to conduct proposer workshops through the Housing and Community Development Department.”

“I think that the new resolution makes the most sense”, said Evie Craig, president of the Paseo West Neighborhood Association.  “This is an opportunity for multiple sites and greater geographic distribution in a city that encompasses 318 square miles. This is what people have been advocating for, a more city wide approach to the issue.” 

Craig also stated that the new RFP does not represent a delay in services as some had argued. “Roughly 75% of the original $7.1 million would have been chewed up in renovation that would have taken months to complete,” she said. 

The two dissenting votes were 1st District Councilman Nathan Willet and 6th District Councilman Jonathan Duncan. Duncan stated during the session that the original ordinance “had an extensive conversation around that RFP,” and that the new resolution “flies in the face of all that.” Councilman Willet did not offer any testimony on the new resolution but dissented from the majority with a No vote.