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

Cities Worry About Homeless Populations As Coronavirus Surges

By Reid Wilson
March 17, 2020 —

People who are homeless face a huge risk of exposure to the coronavirus sweeping the nation, and city officials worry that their homeless populations could become vectors from which the virus spreads even more broadly than it has already.

The number of people experiencing homelessness across the country has grown in recent years after falling in the wake of the recession, as housing stocks diminish and prices rise. In many cities like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, entire homeless camps have sprouted.

“Since before we knew we had a case, it was on our shortlist of concerns,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. “It remains a very big concern for the city of Seattle, both from a public health standpoint as well as just the ability to deliver basic services.”

About 568,000 Americans are experiencing homelessness, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which conducts an annual point-in-time census. California has the nation’s largest homeless population, at more than 150,000, while 92,000 people in New York do not have a home. More than 20,000 people are homeless in Texas, Florida and Washington, the HUD report found.

Those who live on the streets or in shelters are uniquely at risk of catching any disease, and especially one as virulent as the coronavirus, said Maria Foscarinis, founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. And if they do catch an infectious disease, they are likely to spread it more widely than someone who can distance themselves more easily from the rest of society.

“People who are homeless tend to have more health problems because of their homelessness. They are more exposed, so they are at higher risk,” Foscarinis said in an interview. “They are unable to self-quarantine. If you don’t have a home, you can’t stay in it. Therefore, the risk of contracting the disease increases, and people can also be transmitters of the disease.”

In recent years, the cramped quarters and unsanitary conditions in some homeless encampments have led to the spread of diseases that are unheard of in other parts of the country, like typhus and tuberculosis.

Now, as the coronavirus has spread, cities and states are beginning to take new measures to protect those without homes. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said Monday the state had blocked off nearly 400 rooms in two Oakland hotels to clear homeless encampments. Newsom also said Monday that a homeless person in Santa Clara County had died of the virus.

Newsom, who dedicated his entire state of the state address to California’s growing homelessness crisis last month, has also deployed camp trailers and modular tents to help get some homeless people into something approaching a stable place to live.

“The best and most effective thing to do is to find places for people to live, creating housing. There are some shorter, faster ways to do that,” Foscarinis said.

Cities like Miami, Baltimore, New Orleans and Nashville have suspended evictions during the outbreak to ensure more families do not become homeless. Seattle and other cities have also suspended turning off utilities for those who fall behind on their bills.

“The last thing we want is for people to be displaced from their homes or to suddenly have their power and lights shut off,” Durkan said.

Groups that serve the homeless say they are taking extra precautions to prevent the virus from sweeping through dormitory-style shelters. At Central Union Mission, the oldest social services organization in Washington, D.C., residents of their men’s shelter have their temperatures checked as they walk in the front door. If their temperature is too high, they are sent to a medical facility for treatment.

“There’s no such thing as isolating someone in a homeless shelter. Once it gets in it can spread very rapidly,” said Joseph Mettimano, Central Union Mission’s president. “We’re still fully open for business. We’re still sheltering the homeless and feeding the hungry. But we are taking all reasonable steps to keep it out of the building.”

As Americans rush to grocery stores to stock up on supplies, shelves are going empty beyond the stores themselves. Shelters like Central Union Mission rely on donations from grocery stores to feed those in their care.

“We need to continue to be able to feed and shelter folks here. We have a pretty big dependence on donated food from grocery stores and Costco, and we’ve already seen a decrease in those donations,” Mettimano said. 

This article courtesy of The Hill


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