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

Citing Coronavirus, Homeless Families Seize 12 Vacant Homes in Los Angeles: ‘We Have To Do This’

By Liam Dillon
March 19, 2020 —

A group of homeless and housing-insecure Angelenos seized more vacant, publicly owned homes in El Sereno on Wednesday, arguing that government officials have failed to provide the shelter that’s necessary for them to remain healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

The occupation followed a similar takeover Saturday, when two families and a man moved into one of the neighborhood’s dozens of empty homes – all owned by Caltrans. The state agency bought them years ago as part of a now-failed plan to extend the 710 Freeway.

The protesters have taken over 12 homes and plan to remain in the properties indefinitely, organizers said.

“With this health crisis and this housing crisis, we need every vacant house to be a home for those who don’t have a safe and stable place to sleep in,” said Ruby Gordillo, 33, while standing on the porch of a two-bedroom bungalow before moving in with her three children.

Gordillo and others involved in the protest have said they were inspired by a group of homeless mothers in Oakland. Late last year, those mothers took over a vacant, corporate-owned property and, after they were evicted, secured backing from Gov. Gavin Newsom to force the Bay Area property’s sale to a community land trust.

Like the Oakland moms, the protesters in El Sereno are affiliated with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, an organization that has advocated several statewide measures to expand rent control and tenant protections.

The LA protesters, who call themselves Reclaiming Our Homes, say their push is all the more urgent because of the spread of the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19. Public health experts are calling for increasingly stringent measures, including asking people to stay indoors and to keep their distance from one another to slow the virus’ spread.

Though Newsom, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and other elected officials have called for housing homeless residents in hotels, motels and on public property, the families say they haven’t acted with enough urgency.

“Since they’re not, they’re being unjust,” said Martha Escudero, 42, who has spent the last 18 months sleeping on couches in East Los Angeles before moving into the Caltrans-owned home Saturday. “We have to do this.”

The state agency did not respond to a list of questions from The Times.

Escudero said the California Department of Transportation has made no attempts to evict the families since they moved in Saturday morning. Caltrans acquired the modest homes in El Sereno among about 460 properties, including Craftsman mansions in South Pasadena, in preparation for extending the 710 Freeway. That plan was abandoned in 2018.

Caltrans has started the process of selling the homes, which are required by law to be offered to former owners first and then to current tenants who meet certain income requirements. But the vast majority are still owned by the state. Many of the houses in El Sereno have boarded windows with signs warning against trespassing.

Since the occupation began, a group of state lawmakers has asked Newsom to immediately make the vacant Caltrans properties available for occupancy. The governor has not weighed in on the protest but has instead spoken repeatedly about the need to prioritize the homeless population during the pandemic, especially seniors.

Garcetti on Tuesday said he was aware that the families had occupied at least one home. He said that he had asked Caltrans if the city’s housing authority could take over the properties in El Sereno but that it would require state action.

“We don’t have a ton of supply of vacant housing,” Garcetti said. “We are primarily right now focused on hotels (and) motels…. To get to the numbers that I think we need to get to, we’d never get there just with vacant houses.”

On Wednesday evening, Garcetti announced that the city will convert 42 of its recreation centers into temporary shelters for homeless residents, providing 6,000 new beds to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Newsom, meanwhile, announced $150 million in emergency funding to quickly move homeless people indoors.

The governor also said the state is in negotiations with more than 950 hotels to lease or buy properties that could be used to house unsheltered people or provide quarantine sites. Deals have been reached on two such properties, he said, including in Oakland to provide 393 rooms for homeless people who have tested positive for the virus or are at risk of contracting it.

In El Sereno on Wednesday afternoon, the protesters acted quickly and stealthily to occupy more houses. They had directed reporters to a vacant home less than a mile away from the house that was taken over Saturday. But the occupation was being staged on another block.

When the reporters arrived, protesters had formed a human chain – each person standing six feet apart, with many wearing rubber gloves and surgical masks – to protect the families moving into the houses.

Gordillo broke into tears describing how she had previously crowded into a small studio apartment in Pico-Union with her husband and three children, using their bed as a dining table and a place for her kids to do homework.

“We’re humbled to have you the taxpayers welcome us into your home, which is now my home and my family’s home,” she said to the crowd before entering. “Thank you.”

In total, organizers said, 11 additional homes were taken over Wednesday.

Not everyone in the neighborhood was pleased. Standing outside watching two homes on her block being occupied Wednesday, Desiree Ramos said she understood the protesters’ motivations but worried that she didn’t know them. She also said many of the vacant homes had asbestos and black mold, and weren’t safe to live in.

“This neighborhood is quiet,” said Ramos, 38. “It doesn’t look like it’s going to stay that way.”

On Saturday, it was Gordillo’s and Escudero’s families who moved into the first two-bedroom property. But they worried that overcrowding in the home wasn’t safe during the coronavirus pandemic. So Wednesday, Gordillo and Benito Flores, 64, a welder who had been living in his van before joining the families over the weekend, moved into vacant properties across the street.

“Now they have their own homes,” Escudero said.

This article courtesy of the Sacramento Bee


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