Social Services Seeks Extra Funding In Wake Of Sojourners’ Troubles

Here go our taxes again!

The Latah County Social Services Department requested additional funding Wednesday in its proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year to help with housing and utility costs during the temporary – and possibly permanent – closure of Sojourners’ Alliance.

The department, which handles the county’s indigent needs by providing money for medical, hospital, mental health, burials, housing and utility services, made the request during a budget presentation to the Latah County Commissioners.

The department’s overall $531,661 budget request for the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1, is an increase of $17,500 from 2015-16. Henrianne Westberg, clerk/auditor/recorder for the county, said the increase isn’t bad considering it includes bringing Veterans’ Services into the department and possible assistance for Sojourners’ Alliance.

The proposed budget for indigent housing increased by $18,000 to $30,000. Westberg said the increase is to prepare for a possible influx of people seeking assistance with the closure of Sojourners’ Alliance.

In a budget presentation Monday, Steve Bonnar, executive director for the transitional housing facility, said Sojourners’ Alliance will be closing Sept. 1 for a tentative two-month-long period. If adequate funding cannot be secured by then, the opening date may be pushed back, he said.

“This is anticipating people leaving Sojourners’ (and) having nowhere to go and landing at the county needing assistance,” Westberg said.