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LAAS New Hope connection on block

A decision by the Los Angeles department of Animal Services to eliminate the New Hope Coordinators' position has led to quite a bark fest on the Echo Park Animal Alliance's lively list serv. In recent years, New Hope Coordinators have been responsible for facilitating as independent, nonprofit animal rescue organizations adopted animals from the city's shelters, many of these animals running out of time in the shelters. The former coordinators now will return to jobs as Animal Care Technicians, their previous duties reassigned or reclassified or forgotten.

LAAS General Manager Brenda Barnette told Chicken Corner yesterday that the decision to eliminate New Hope Coordinators, folding their duties into other jobs, is due mainly to budget constraints, with staff vacancies going unfilled, and what she says was a lack of need for the New Hope Coordinators.

Barnette explained:

The Supervisors met and said that they felt like the special assignments (Volunteer Liaison and New Hope Coordinators) were not an effective use of resources. There is not a steady stream of New Hope Partners or Volunteers needing assistance coming into the shelters which left the New Hope Liaisons and the Volunteer Liaisons idle at times and yet not in the schedule to do other work.

Several volunteers and animal activists on the Echo Park Animal Alliance's list serv begged to differ.

A woman named Jane Garcia posted that elimination of New Hope Coordinators would mean a return to the days when nonprofit volunteers could not get calls through to shelter staff:

Remember trying to get through to the shelter and constantly getting busy signals? No more calling the [New Hope] Coordinator's cell phone and getting right through to speak to her or leave a message on a dedicated voice mail line. How about getting through, then being put on immediate hold for 5, 10, 15 minutes just to ask to be put through to an ACT or kennel supervisor?
Then there was the 20 minute wait while someone was paged but didn't pick up. Either you waited and waited--not a good option if you are lucky enough to have a job and had to put everything else aside in the hope that someone actually responded to the page. ... Often you'd have to give up or even got cut off.

According to LAAS documents,

The purpose of the New Hope Program is to expand opportunities for Los Angeles Animal Services (LAAS)' dogs, cats, and rabbits to find permanent homes by partnering with qualified 501 (c) 3 organizations. The New Hope Program is the means by which LAAS acknowledges, cooperates with, and supports the efforts of partnering animal care, training, rescue, welfare and law enforcement organizations as we all try to find homes for the City's homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits.
A New Hope Coordinator is assigned to each Animal Care Center to serve the needs of our New Hope Partners. The role of the New Hope Coordinator is to expedite and facilitate the adoption of New Hope animals to New Hope Partners.

A very important program, in this age of cash-challenged government organizations working with nonprofits. Though Chicken Corner would like to see chickens added to the list of animals the New Hope program values.

Meanwhile, Barnette emailed Chicken Corner, saying,

I have offered to schedule a meeting next week and I'm waiting to see if more than one person is willing to sit and talk face to face.

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