A $100,000 contract with King County has rescued Clean Dreams, a one-year-old program that helps young adults with arrest records turn their lives around in Seattle’s Rainier Beach area.
The contract, which runs through February with the county’s Community Services Division, makes it possible for Clean Dreams to identify and provide 50 new clients, ages 16-24, with the services they need to leave drug-related street life, including treatment, rental assistance, child care, and job training.
It’s a turnaround for the program, which the city had funded but cut Aug. 31 after Clean Dreams’ parent organization, Street Outreach Services, lost its main contract with the county and ceased operations. The contract was cancelled over an audit SOS had repeatedly failed to complete — a problem with out-of-date books and poor financial practices that have now been corrected, says Charles Davis, the interim SOS director who took over from Kris Nyrop.
“We’re doing things the way they’re supposed to be done,” says Davis — one reason, he says, that the county decided to sign a new contract and release funds that had originally been earmarked for SOS from Oct. 1 to Feb. 28. Davis says the program is also competing for a 2008 city contract to be awarded in late December.
The program started in September 2006, with the city allocating Clean Dreams $140,000 this year. After the program was cut, the city used part of the funding to pay directly for services for what were then 54 Clean Dreams clients, with private donations filling the gap, Davis says.
Under the new county contract, which will pay for staff members Hosea Wilcox and Nature Carter-Gooding to continue their outreach and case management, Davis says Clean Dreams has added a new program called Values Reorientation, in which new clients join a support group focused on immediate survival issues and then graduate to a leadership training program in which they mentor others.
The program will only add to services that Davis says are already known to work. “We ran a tally at end of September,” he says, “and of the first 100 people that we’d worked with, only one had been rearrested.”