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

California Must Not Repeat Old Mistakes As It Seeks New Ways To End Homelessness

Newly built apartment buildings across the street from MacArthur BART station in Oakland on July 19, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters

By: Chris Martin and Sharon Rapport
August 14, 2019 —

Gov. Gavin Newsom is right when he says: “Shelter solves sleep. Housing solves homelessness.” 

Shelters are short-term responses, not the long-term solution to California’s homelessness crises. That’s why our policies and resources should focus on the right to housing, not a right to shelter.

A right to shelter is akin to treating symptoms without curing the disease. It ignores that the homelessness crisis is rooted in a decades-long failure to plan, invest, and sustain affordable housing, especially for people in deep poverty. Diverting investments in permanent affordable housing toward a mandate for shelter beds will lead us to repeat past mistakes.

True, California recently invested in affordable and supportive housing, and the number of people who are homeless did rise. But the reason is not that these investments are wrong. Rather, the scale of investment has been inadequate. Adding to the problem, inequitable zoning and red tape have thwarted affordable housing, especially for people experiencing homelessness.

The affordable housing crisis is daunting. Our supply is about 4 million units short of demand, and more than 80% of units are unaffordable or unavailable for Californians living with extremely low income, defined as less than 30% of the area median income.

Another 1 million households spend more than 50% of their income on rent, leaving them vulnerable to homelessness when their rent goes up or a large bill comes due.

Too many Californians encounter these difficulties every day. People of color, particularly African-Americans, are at the highest risk of homelessness.

The few low-cost options Californians used to be able to rent, such as single room occupancy rooms, evaporated long ago as these were converted to high-end rentals.

Plain and simple, our shortage of housing led to heightened competition, unaffordable rent, and, more than any other cause, homelessness. 

One compelling fact from a report issued by the California Housing Partnership is thatgrowth in rental apartment supply in our state has not kept pace with renter demand since the Great Recession.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, when homelessness became a national crisis, our communities built emergency shelters. This strategy did nothing to stem the tide of people entering homelessness.

Those who entered shelters had to adhere to rules about sobriety and other behaviors before advancing to temporary housing. Most returned to the streets, leading to large numbers of Californians cycling between shelters and homelessness.

The untold dollars spent on these failed shelters and policies would have been better invested in permanent housing.

Early this century, the U.S. government formally adopted “housing first” policy, intended to move people off the street and into homes.

By offering subsidized housing with voluntary services, we found that even people with long-time homelessness and severe disabling conditions could be housed successfully, and permanently. Housing first has resulted in decreased homelessness nationally.

California’s success with housing first was tempered because our real estate boom pushed poor families out of desirable rental markets. Compounding the crisis, the discontinuation of redevelopment resources took away funds that could have been used for affordable housing to meet the growing need.

It was one step forward and two steps back.

Los Angeles and some other communities have moved people once homeless into permanent housing. But because of bad decisions made decades ago, L.A. is among the cities facing an inflow entering homelessness people.

We have failed to learn the most important lesson from the past because we continue to underfund affordable housing.

To end homelessness, we cannot manage it in shelters. We must create affordable housing opportunities through subsidies and construction.

Seeing people experiencing homelessness is frustrating, especially when we perceive resources are not making a difference. 

But our strategy should not be to return to failed policies. Instead, we must turn to strategies that are proven: providing people with affordable housing opportunities and services at a scale that will change the trajectory. By doing so, we would ensure our less than enviable history addressing homelessness remains well in the past.

Chris Martin is legislative advocate for Housing California, cmartin@housingca.org. Sharon Rapport is associate director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, Sharon.rapport@csh.org.

This article courtesy of CalMatters


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