Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Sacramento, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Gov. Newsom said Wednesday that California is making an “unprecedented” effort to address homelessness, two days after lawmakers failed to pass a bill to massively increase housing production….. The governor said the state has placed more than 22,000 homeless Californians in 16,400 hotel and motel rooms amid the pandemic, and is giving cities and counties $600 million to purchase the rooms and convert them into permanent housing….. Local governments also got another $628 million in emergency homelessness aid….. “It’s self-evident that this has to be our top priority and it is,” said Newsom……   A bill heading to Newsom’s desk would create a state Office to End Homelessness, led by a new “homelessness czar.” But the governor said Wednesday he already has a homelessness czar — a seemingly fluid title, given that he’s used it to refer to six people in the past two years, including himself……      HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..
San Francisco, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     Bay Area universities and homeless advocates released a report on Thursday revealing the various barriers homeless San Franciscans face when accessing housing…..  The report’s authors, the Coalition on Homelessness and researchers with the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University surveyed 600 temporarily housed San Franciscans, with a focus on transgender people …..  Participants revealed inequities that homeless transgender people face to obtain housing, poor shelter conditions, crowded living spaces and strict curfews, created even more barriers to housing. Fifty-eight percent of participants said they would prefer a legal homeless camp with basic amenities like showers and toilets while 34 percent reported having substance abuse issues…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..
Paso Robles, CA – Sept. 2, 2020      The temporary camping facility for homeless residents has been operational at the Borkey Flats site for a few weeks. The site has restrooms, showers, and a safe needle exchange program, and a safe parking area….. The City’s Community Action Team (CAT) has been visiting homeless encampments in the riverbed. They have visited 15-20 camps and informed individuals of the new camping site and of the city’s intent to clean up the riverbed to mitigate fire risk and protect water quality…… To date, three encampments have been cleaned up of all debris and waste products. The camping site has not seen high levels of utilization to date, but the city has seen a drop in fire activity since the CAT team has been active and cleanup has begun….. The city will need to move the Borkey Flats encampment in the winter given that it is in the flood plain, and continues to work with homeless service provider partners to identify long-term solutions…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER    …..     …..
Stanton, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The County of Orange and Jamboree Housing Corporation submitted three applications as co-applicants and in partnership with the City of Stanton under the State Homekey program, all located in the City of Stanton, for a total request of $28.1 million in funding…..   The County recently received word that the State reserved funding for both The Tahiti Motel and Stanton Inn and Suites applications….. Two of the motels identified for funds in the City of Stanton include The Stanton Inn and Suites, on Katella Avenue and the Tahiti Motel, on Beach Boulevard. A third motel is in negotiation with the motel owner, they say. By the end of the project, 132 new affordable homes will be available for those experiencing homelessness.   Although this does not yet represent an award from the State, it is one step closer to securing funding to make the Homekey program work…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER…..     …..     …..  
Oxnard, CA – Sept. 3, 2020     The Vagabond Inn in Oxnard could soon transition from an affordable hotel option to permanent supportive housing for 70 of the county’s homeless residents, thanks to a state funding effort that aims to house California’s most vulnerable homeless individuals….. The Vagabond Inn is under consideration for funding under Project Homekey, the next phase in the state’s efforts to protect homeless residents who are high-risk for COVID-19. In July, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced $600 million in funding for cities and counties to convert motels, hotels and other housing types into permanent housing…..  “This is an opportunity that allows us to both respond to COVID-19 and respond to homelessness and the long-term need to provide housing,” said Oxnard Housing Director Emilio Ramirez…..     HOMELESS PERSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA TICKER     …..     …..

The Best Way to Help Our Homeless Neighbors is to Find Them Shelter ASAP

In addition to serving homeless men and women, The Link also has facilities for families with minor children in Santa Ana on Thursday, November 15, 2018. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

By: Holly J. Mitchell
April 25, 2019 —

Housing is a basic human right. It’s right there in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was created by the United Nations in 1948 and has been signed by every U.N. member nation.

This is not controversial, although we can see on our streets every day that thousands of Californians do not have access to this fundamental human right.

Recognizing this as a fact, I authored Senate Bill 1380 which made California a housing first state, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed it into law in September 2016.

“Housing first” is an evidence-based model that sees housing as a tool to help people recover, not a reward for recovery. This model connects homeless people to permanent housing as quickly as possible by removing barriers that arise when housing is made contingent on participation in programs such as drug and alcohol treatment.

Multiple studies show that between 75 percent and 91 percent of people who are rapidly re-housed are still in their homes a year later. This stands to reason. Sudden homelessness, whether caused by illness, spousal abuse or some other misfortune, frequently triggers a catastrophic cascade of troubles.

The first thing we must do for Californians who have lost their homes, for whatever reason is simple, if not easy: Find them shelter.

While the housing first model does not require sobriety, it clearly encourages sobriety. It has been shown that people who voluntarily sign up for supportive services are more likely to discontinue substance use, participate in job training programs, and attend school.

In advocating for the housing first bill, I pointed out that the model was ripe for adoption in California because we have foundations, charitable groups, churches, and organizations that provide supportive housing and other services. These include programs that require individuals to undergo screenings to assist them in battling addictions.

Under the housing first model, such programs can work hand-in-glove with state-funded programs. Housing first simply says housing, the most fundamental human need, cannot be made contingent on a clean drug test.

Such programs have helped many men, women and children, and we should all commend them for that. And we also now know that leaving people homeless as a way of trying to help them is not ultimately effective. That’s why, when it comes to public dollars, California will continue to invest in the housing first model.

To advance this end, SB 1380 established two more entities: the Homeless Trust Fund—a repository for state, federal and foundation money; and the California Homeless Coordinating Council—to foster collaboration among state agencies and local governments.

In his State of the State address in January, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the formation of the Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing.

Noting that many victims of homelessness “are self-medicating with drugs or alcohol,” the governor appointed Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to head the Commission.

This was an obviously appropriate choice. During his tenure in the Legislature, Mayor Steinberg’s most enduring work focused on the intersection of homelessness, mental health and addiction.

Mayor Steinberg and Gov. Newsom are deeply committed to the housing first model.

All Californians who care about our 130,000-plus neighbors forced to live in the streets can be glad our state is committed to getting them housed right away. And after we’ve ensured that they have a safe place to sleep and eat, then we will help them with the other challenges they face.

Holly Mitchell represents Senate District 30 in Culver City and Los Angeles and is chair of the Senate Budget Committee, senator.mitchell@senate.ca.gov.
She wrote this commentary for CALmatters.


Need info about housing and homelessness?
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More articles for you —

Orange County Homeless Solutions Will Require Shelters and Housing First

San Clemente: Eager to Enforce Homeless Camping Ordinance, But Slow to Provide Shelter Plan

No Change in Climate for San Clemente’s Homeless

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