Lot of Money, Little Action

A bunch more money is flowing into the various homeless services coffers in our area, according to this story from Sacramento County News, but very little seems to be happening in terms of actually reducing homelessness, especially the illegal (arguably lately) camping in the Parkway, which will now increase due to the legal decision of the Ninth Circuit making camping in public (if there are no shelter beds available for the homelsss) essentially legal.

The story.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors today endorsed a collaborative investment plan for more than $19 million locally in new, one-time State funding aimed at helping local communities address their immediate homelessness challenges.

The funding will be used to expand emergency shelter services for individuals, families and youth experiencing homelessness and to fund a flexible housing pool to be administered by the County Department of Human Assistance. The pool will provide individualized practical help with rental assistance and other services to transition participants from the streets to permanent housing.

More than $14 million in State funding is allocated to Sacramento Steps Forward (SSF) as the homeless Continuum of Care and more than $5 million to the City of Sacramento, one of 11 cities statewide receiving a direct allocation. A community process was used to help identify the most impactful investments to further Sacramento’s efforts once Senate Bill 850 was signed by Governor Brown in June of this year. The legislation allocated $553 million statewide for two new programs: the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and the California Emergency Solutions and Housing Program (CESH).

Sacramento’s plan envisions collaborative implementation of HEAP and CESH, including Sacramento County administering nearly $11 million to expand family shelters, expand scattered site shelters, and create and implement the Flexible Housing Pool. The Flexible Housing Pool will work with existing shelters, navigation programs and the City’s Pathways program to identify participants for re-housing.

​In addition, for the first time, flexible re-housing services and financial assistance will be available for vulnerable seniors through referrals from Sacramento County Adult Protective Service and from a new Jail Diversion Pilot intended to connect low-level misdemeanants experiencing homelessness with services in lieu of jail.

The City of Sacramento’s HEAP funding will be used primarily to increase sheltering capacity, including a new triage shelter and youth sheltering options. SSF will use about $1 million in CESH funding to make system improvements to Sacramento’s homeless system, focusing on developing its coordinated entry system, for community strategic planning and furthering collaborative efforts among public and private funders.

“We welcome the State’s support of our local efforts and are excited for the opportunity to build on programs developed in 2017 as part of Sacramento County’s homeless initiatives, including the County’s scattered site shelter program and its Flexible Supportive ReHousing Program” said Cindy Cavanaugh, Sacramento County’s Director of Homeless Initiatives. “We are looking forward to helping more people, including vulnerable seniors, and in partnering in new ways so that, together, we can have a greater impact in reducing homelessness in Sacramento.”

To participate in HEAP funding the State statute requires that local jurisdictions must declare a shelter crisis. As part of its action​, the Board of Supervisors passed its decla​ration of a shelter crisis, thereby allowing the County to administer HEAP funds and, allowing persons experiencing homelessness in the unincorporated County to be eligible for services.

For more information on Sacramento County’s commitment to homeless outreach visit our website.

Retrieved October 16, 2018 from http://www.saccounty.net/news/latest-news/Pages/County-Participates-in-New-State-Homeless-Funding.aspx

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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