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

Record Number of Homeless People Died in Sacramento County Last Year, New Report Shows

Eileen Thomas stands and waits after lighting candles at the 5th annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial in remembrance of the homeless people who died in 2017 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Friday, December 21, 2018. DANIEL KIM DKIM@SACBEE.COM

By: Theresa Clift
August 12, 2020 —

A record number of homeless people died in Sacramento County last year, with Black people taking up a disproportionate share of the deaths, according to an annual report from homeless activists.

The report released today from the Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness showed 138 homeless people died in 2019 — six more deaths than in 2018. On average, a homeless person died about every two and a half days last year in Sacramento County.

The report also shows that methamphetamine overdoses were the leading cause of death among the homeless, and that the number of homeless women who died continues to rise in the county.

The number of homeless people who have died each year has increased since 2016, when 71 homeless died. In 2017, the number jumped to 124In 2018, it continued to climb to 132.

A woman holds an electric candle at the 5th annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial in remembrance of the homeless people who died in 2017 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Friday, December 21, 2018. DANIEL KIM DKIM@SACBEE.COM

The number of Black homeless people who died in 2019 made up 28% of the total — up from 19% between 2017 and 2018, according to the report. Black people make up 13% of the county’s population.

That statistic comes amid a national movement to address inequities Black communities have been suffering from for decades, including police brutality, higher poverty rates, and higher death rates from the coronavirus.

During a homeless count conducted in January 2019volunteers talked to about 500 of the 5,570 estimated homeless people living in Sacramento County. They found homelessness was disproportionately impacting the Black community. Thirty-four percent of the homeless people were Black.

Julian Street, 13, holds an electric candle at the 5th annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial in remembrance of the homeless people who died in 2017 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Friday, December 21, 2018. DANIEL KIM DKIM@SACBEE.COM

The Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, which publishes the report each year using coroner data, expressed support for the mayor’s plan to order 500 tiny homes and place them at small temporary “Safe Ground” encampments scattered around the city. The council could approve that plan this month.

The organization also urged local officials to create a committee to address systemic racism as it relates to homelessness; allocate $10 million in federal coronavirus dollars to rental assistance; build a shelter in each council district; and open a long-awaited parking lot for people to sleep safely in their vehicles.

The group also is urging local officials to follow the lead of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and create a committee “charged with coming up with recommendations that address racism, discrimination and unconscious bias in our public systems,” the report said.

The committee should include people of color who have experienced homelessness to ensure the programs and services meet the needs of those they are intended to serve, the report said.

200 of these electronic candles commemorating Homeless Persons Memorial were given to guests attending the Longest Night event held on December 21, 2019 at the Anaheim Cemetery. (Video by Tim Houchen Homeless Perspective)

“I think it is long overdue for Sacramento Steps Forward, the city and the county to address systemic racism as it relates to homelessness in our community and promote racial equity in the homeless service system as well as public policies,” SRCEH executive director Bob Erlenbusch said.

METH-RELATED DEATHS INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY

Forty-three homeless people died of methamphetamine overdoses in 2019, according to the report. That’s up from 28 who died from meth overdose in 2018. It comprised 80% of all alcohol and substance abuse deaths last year.

There are few places in Sacramento for homeless people who are suffering from meth overdose to go besides jail or the hospital.

The city recently spent $1 million in federal coronavirus stimulus funds for a meth sobering center and detox facility, planned to open in the central city next month, City Councilman Jeff Harris said.

“This is a huge issue among the homeless population and now that we know it’s causing the increased mortality we have to address it in great fervor,” Harris said.

Father Michael O’Reilly holds an electric candle while singing ‘Silent Night’ at the 5th annual Interfaith Homeless Memorial in remembrance of the homeless people who died in 2017 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Friday, December 21, 2018. DANIEL KIM DKIM@SACBEE.COM

The facility, in partnership with Wellspace Health, will be able to serve about 20 people at a time, and they will cycle through in less than a day, Harris said.

In addition, the county should implement a recommendation from its meth coalition and expand funding for alcohol and drug treatment as well as mental health programs, the report said.

Thirty-three homeless women died in 2019 — 26% of the total. The percentage of women who die each year out of the total number of homeless deaths has continued to increase since 2016, when 18% of the deaths were women.

Of all large metropolitan areas in the country, Sacramento has the highest percentage of homeless families sleeping outdoors, a federal report earlier this year found.

The city is opening a 100-bed shelter for women in Meadowview this year, which was originally set to open during the winter.

Nonprofit Loaves and Fishes’ Maryhouse facility offers daytime services for women, such as showers, diapers, wipes and menstrual supplies. But a staff coronavirus infection has closed the facility for two weeks, said Shannon Dominguez-Stevens, Maryhouse director.

Dominguez-Stevens said more people have been showing up to Maryhouse for services since the pandemic started. Several have said they have been recently evicted, despite a city and state moratorium on evictions for those financially impacted by the virus.

She also hears many stories of violence. Blunt force head injuries were the cause of 27 of the deaths in 2019, the report said.

“Not a day goes by we don’t have women coming to us to report physical violence, sexual violence or domestic partner violence,” Dominguez-Stevens said. “People at the city and county level need to lean into the expertise of those of us who are working on the ground with these women experiencing homelessness.”

She added, “We need to remember these women are people with hopes and dreams and desires. They deserve just as much support as a housed person.”

This article courtesy of the Sacramento Bee


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