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…..     …..
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…..     …..     …..  
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    …..     …..
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     …..     …..
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…..     …..     …..  
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    …..     …..

Cities Across America Are Working Together To Fix The Housing Crisis

By: Muriel Bowser and Karen Freeman-Wilson
July 18, 2019 —

The United States has a housing crisis. Access to housing — particularly access to safe and affordable housing — continues to be a major concern across the nation, from our hometowns of Washington, D.C. to Gary, Ind., housing is the single biggest factor impacting economic mobility for working families. 

Due to stagnant wages, rising real estate prices, higher interest rates and strict lending standards, housing has become a disproportionate expense for more and more working families. And not just for homeowners, but renters too. 

Today, nearly 40 percent of households in the U.S. are rented, and of these households, half are “cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

This problem did not develop overnight and there is no silver bullet for fixing it. Solutions must be holistic. Local and federal leaders must address the role that decades of structural racism has played in creating segregated and inequitable communities. We must recognize the fact that in no state, metropolitan area, or county can a worker earning minimum wage and working a 40-hour week afford a two-bedroom rental.

To confront these challenges — in big cities and small towns, in blue states and red states — we must be intentional about ensuring that residents across the income spectrum can access and afford new and existing housing — housing that is both affordable and safe. In doing so, we can build stronger, more resilient communities with greater opportunities for investment and economic prosperity. To get there, we must invest more in the tools that are already working and create new tools to tackle new and long-standing challenges.

In Washington, D.C., for example, we continue to make big investments in our affordable housing and homebuyer programs. 

In 2015, we doubled our annual investment in our Housing Production Trust Fund to $100 million — more per capita than any state or city in the nation. We also created and funded a Housing Preservation Fund. Most importantly, we got that money out the door and into projects that helped us build or preserve more than 7,200 affordable homes in four years.

To achieve big results, we are setting big goals. By 2025 Washington, D.C. needs to add 36,000 new homes, with at least 12,000 of those units affordable. So, in May, I signed the District’s first Mayor’s Order on housing, directing District agencies to analyze housing trends and to identify policies that will get us there.

In Gary, our focus is on identifying and addressing underutilized properties. The Gary Counts initiative, has inventoried more than 58,000 parcels, leading to the identification of more than 25,000 empty lots and 6,500 vacant buildings. The goal of this initiative is to help decide on whether we need to redevelop these properties or demolish them to make room for new housing, parks or other public amenities.

To identify other best practices and policies from across the nation, the National League of Cities (NLC) brought together 20 local leaders to form the NLC Housing Task Force. Together, we examined the causes of the housing crisis and published a report, “Homeward Bound: The Road to Affordable Housing,” [nlc.org] where we spotlight innovative solutions being implemented locally and put forth a set of policy recommendations to support millions in need of adequate housing.

Cities cannot do this work alone. Eighty percent of voters believe Congress should “take major action” to make housing more affordable for low-income families. We agree. This crisis is affecting the quality of life for people throughout our nation, and the time to act is now.

All levels of government need to face this challenge head-on. 

The federal government must step up, treat our nation’s housing needs seriously, and recognize that housing is infrastructure. Federal programs — such as HUD’s HOME and Community Development Block Grant (CDGB) programs — are critical to serving the needs of our most vulnerable residents. 

We also encourage Congress to consider a renter tax credit to expand the availability of federal rental assistance in the form of a refundable tax credit targeted to lower-income, rent-burdened households and fix the market for small-dollar mortgage lending and entry-level homeownership that is virtually nonexistent.  

A safe and stable home is the first step to a safe and stable life. National and local leaders must come together and act with urgency to implement innovative solutions that address our nation’s housing crisis.

Muriel Bowser is the mayor of Washington, D.C., and chair of National League of Cities’ Housing Task force. Karen Freeman-Wilson is the mayor, Gary, Ind., and president of National League of Cities. 

This article is courtesy of The Hill


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