Fairfax County Involvement

Fairfax County Involvement

County reviews bids for site operators of three proposed day-labor centers.

At the end of fiscal year 2004-05 Fairfax County supervisors determined $400,000, of an approximately $46 million surplus, would be dedicated to funding the establishment of day-labor centers in Annandale, Culmore and Herndon. Of the three, Herndon is the only location that had a plan in place for the creation of a regulated center to be operated by an outside organization not selected by the county.

In June, a request for proposal, or RFP, was issued by Fairfax County to accept bids from organizations wanting to assist in the operations of designated day-laborer sites in the county. Organizations have the option of offering to run one or all of the named locations, according to the RFP document.

The site will initially be run like homeless shelters in the region. The county would offer to fund — and work in cooperation with — an organization that would be on site and in charge of day-to-day operations. The town of Herndon offered the land at the existing Herndon police station to be used by the county once the building is vacated.

The objective of creating organized sites is to "develop a program that will assist in making the areas where day laborers currently gather safe and orderly for day laborers, employers, residents and local businesses," according to the RFP document. "Day laborers" are defined as workers that gather at street corners, parking lots, strip malls, or official hiring sites seeking daily or hourly employment from employers and private citizens, according to the document.

During an Aug. 16 public hearing, Joel Mills, executive council member, Project Hope and Harmony, said the group submitted a request to run the proposed site through the assistance of Reston Interfaith. Because Project Hope and Harmony is undergoing the process of becoming a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, Reston Interfaith, an established non-profit organization, acted as the applicant. If the county approves Reston Interfaith's bid, county officials will require Project Hope and Harmony run the site in accordance with the conditions established for Reston Interfaith, according to Mills.

Bidding was closed July 1 to review proposals. No organization has been named to operate the site as of yet. Once an organization is chosen, that group will work with the county to run the site.

The Town of Herndon will not offer any financial assistance to the operations of the site.