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Corvallis and Benton County officials took some tentative steps on Tuesday toward closer cooperation on the issue of homelessness.

At a Benton County Board of Commissioners work session, Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber floated a plan to hire a project manager for the county’s 10-year plan to address homelessness, which was adopted in 2009.

Traber and County Commissioner Anne Schuster co-chair the committee that oversees the plan, and both were part of a Nov. 2 summit meeting that called for a reorganization and reinvigoration of that effort, which has achieved some of its initial goals but fallen short on others.

Traber said he’s had preliminary discussions with officials of the United Way of Benton & Lincoln Counties about providing professional project management services to keep the reorganized Homeless Oversight Committee on task.

“The 10-year plan could use more administrative support,” he said.

Traber said the nonprofit agency’s staff was working on a proposal for providing that support, although it still needs to be approved by the United Way board.

Dennis Aloia, Benton County’s chief operating officer, said he was reluctant to endorse that idea until the Homeless Oversight Committee had completed the work of updating the 10-year plan, another key goal that came out of November’s summit.

The Benton County Health Department has come up with a proposal for facilitating that process using staff from the department’s Healthy Communities Program. The proposal also calls for participation from Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, the Community Services Consortium and a Corvallis city planner.

The meeting ended with general agreement to move forward on both fronts with the understanding that the costs would be split between the city and county budgets. The county’s planning proposal is estimated to cost $75,000; Traber said he thought the cost of administrative services for the Homeless Oversight Committee would be less than $50,000 a year.

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Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald