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

7,000 California Homeless Quarantine in Hotels, More Rooms Needed

Some homeless advocates in California say officials should be working much more quickly given the fast-moving pandemic.

By Christopher Weber and Janie Har
May 17, 2020 —

LOS ANGELES — Anxiety mounted every time someone at the homeless shelter sneezed or residents got too close. For Matthew Padilla, a 34-year-old with a pacemaker and asthma, catching the novel coronavirus would likely mean death.

So he jumped at the chance to move into a hotel room for free as part of a new California program. Within days, he and his husband, Nito, were in a room near Los Angeles’ Koreatown, where meals are delivered along with health screenings.

“At the shelter I was constantly getting up, checking on him,” said Nito Padilla, 36. “And here I know he’s safe. I know he’s OK.”

The Padillas are among roughly 7,000 people in California who have been moved out of shelters, vehicles and rough streets to ride out the pandemic in hotels, an effort Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in March to shield some of the state’s 150,000 estimated vulnerable homeless.

Newsom has praised the progress, although counties are still struggling to acquire rooms and squabbles have developed in some cities. Local officials say the process has been complicated as they find appropriate hotels, negotiate leases and get staffing in place. It’s something counties have never done at this scale.

New York City has also tried to decompress its shelters, which typically hold more than 57,000 people, by sending homeless people into hotels and other temporary lodging. But only about 3,500 typically live on the streets there, compared to tens of thousands in California’s largest cities.

Some homeless advocates in California say officials should be working much more quickly given the fast-moving pandemic. In San Francisco, which has moved more than 1,000 of its estimated 8,000 homeless into hotels, nonprofits raised money to get rooms for some who couldn’t get them. Activists have pleaded with Mayor London Breed to do more.

St. Anthony’s charity quickly got rooms nearby for 22 people who were staying at its seasonal overnight shelter. Felicia Senigar, the charity’s housing clinic manager, said she cried along with residents as they got socks, hygiene kits, a $50 Walgreens gift card and a bag of groceries. The housing will last for 30 days.

“They had nowhere to go, and for us to send them out there while this was going on,” Senigar said, choking up.

Newsom announced in late March that federal funding would help pay for at least 15,000 hotel rooms during the pandemic. But Los Angeles County, with the state’s largest concentration of homeless people at about 60,000, set its own goal of 15,000 rooms. By Wednesday, the county had housed about 1,800 people at two dozen hotels. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has said the process was more complicated than officials anticipated, but predicted the numbers would rise.

In his new budget this week, Newsom proposed spending $750 million in federal stimulus funding to buy some of the hotels to permanently house the homeless.

“It is definitely moving too slowly to meet the crisis head on,” said Shayla Myers, senior attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation in LA, which serves vulnerable populations.

Clients must be referred for a room. The names of participating hotels are guarded to protect the privacy of residents and to shield hotels from people showing up wanting a place to stay. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay 75% of the cost of “Project Roomkey” for homeless people who are at least 65, or have health issues, including having contracted the virus.

The Padillas say check-in consisted of a security check, health screening, a recitation of the rules and paperwork. They leave the room for errands, medical appointments or just for a bit of fresh air. Curfew is 7 p.m. and temperatures are checked when people return.

Most people with the virus experience fever and cough for up to three weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority recover.

The shelter was good about promoting hygiene and implementing social distancing rules, the couple say, but some of their fellow residents didn’t take the threat seriously.

“People were getting mad that they couldn’t sit together at lunch tables,” said Nito Padilla.

Bobby Daniel, who is 65 and was living in his car, says he knew the pandemic was a big deal when cafes shuttered and he could no longer linger over an espresso, working on his laptop.

He was surprised and elated when he got into a Los Angeles hotel room after years trying to get indoors. At one of two hotels run by St. Joseph Center, he has water and soap to tend to his ear, where doctors recently excised a growth. Daniel is free to leave the hotel to exercise and uses a microwave to steam kale, chard and broccoli, a luxury he didn’t have in the decade he’s lived in his car.

“You feel hopeful, you feel peaceful, you feel fortunate, you feel grateful,” Daniel says. “It’s almost hard to believe.”

The isolation can be tough for people used to being on crowded streets, in encampments or shelters, said Jennifer Hark Dietz, the executive director at PATH, a homeless services nonprofit in Los Angeles.

“So our staff are doing a lot of what we’re calling ‘emotional wellness checks’. Just talking to folks over the phone. Letting them know we’re here to support them. Making sure they are connected to others,” she said.

Caseworkers provide books and puzzles and the rooms have TVs to help pass the time. Residents get fresh air breaks and at one hotel, a walking path in the parking lot allows for socially-distanced strolls.

As director of outreach for the nonprofit The People Concern, Shari Lachin spearheads efforts to get people off the streets stretching from Hollywood to Skid Row in downtown LA. It’s not always easy to convince people to take a hotel room.

Caseworkers had multiple conversations with a man in his mid-60s named Billy who slept on the streets near LA’s Echo Park, Lachin said. He was reluctant to move into a hotel despite struggling with diabetes, asthma and a heart condition. Then he changed his mind and has “done a total 180.”

In San Francisco, officials agreed to house 13 of those put up by St. Anthony’s, said executive director Anthony Ramirez. He’s grateful but he looks out in the Tenderloin neighborhood, where about 2,000 people continue crowding into tents or sleeping on cardboard, and wishes the city were doing more.

“There’s going to be a time to reflect when this is all said and done: What went wrong, what didn’t, were there voids in leadership?” he said. “At least we’re seeing some traction.”

This article courtesy of WQAD 8


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