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

Activists Concerned Over Rise In Orange County Homeless Deaths

A homeless man sleeps in Costa Mesa. According to data from the coroner’s office, 146 homeless people died in Orange County between April and August. During the same period last year, there were 82 deaths among the homeless. (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

By: Ben Brazil
September 3, 2020 —

Homelessness advocates are concerned about the increase of homeless deaths since the pandemic took hold of Orange County.

According to data from the coroner’s office, 146 homeless people died between April and August. During the same period last year, there were 82 deaths among the homeless.

The Rev. Dennis Kriz believes the rising deaths could be due to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The coroner’s data doesn’t list a cause of death if it’s from natural causes. More than 90 of the causes are left blank in the coroner’s data.

Kriz has been documenting the deaths of the homeless monthly for the Voice of OC.

Photo courtesy of Hope 4 Restoration

The pastor is a vocal advocate for the homeless in Orange County. He supported dozens of homeless people by allowing an encampment on his church’s grounds. Now he works with Housing is a Human Right OC.

“Any one death is one too many and the Health Care Agency, in collaboration with our community partners, continues to work on solutions focused on linking individuals experiencing homelessness to the physical and behavioral health and housing resources they need,” said Jason Austin, director of the Orange County agency’s office of care coordination.

Kriz also believes that the virus may be causing homeless deaths in indirect ways, such as a lack of outreach.

“I think that the homeless, above all, are just afraid to go to the hospital,” Kriz said, pointing out the risks of visiting a hospital during a pandemic.

Months ago, Kriz and other homeless advocates held car rallies to advocate for the county to do more for the homeless during the pandemic.

Homeless activist Dave Duran, who was one of these advocates, said he doesn’t know whether the homeless are dying from COVID-19, but he surmised that it could negatively impact the population in a number of ways. With fewer people driving around, homeless who relied on panhandling may be facing a sharp decrease in their main source of money, he said, which could contribute to the number of homeless deaths.

Kriz and Duran said the county could be doing much more for the homeless.

The county has been seeking to help the homeless with Project Roomkey — a state initiative that provides temporary isolation shelter to homeless individuals who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and those who are at higher risk of developing a severe form of the illness. The initiative is providing 692 rooms from six hotel and motel sites.

The county is also providing about $1.3 million to homeless service providers to provide alternative temporary shelter placement for the homeless.

“It is our job to help the most vulnerable among us both during COVID and after,” Austin said through email.


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Project Homekey, another state initiative, is the next phase in preventing the spread of the virus among the homeless population. With the help of $600 million in state grant funds, counties will purchase and rehabilitate hotels, motels, vacant apartments and other buildings.

Austin said the county has submitted three applications to the state for motel sites.

Kriz said Project Roomkey has been insufficient.

“The program never was dimensioned to the proper size,” Kriz said. “… There never was an attempt to put everybody who’s on the street into a hotel room.”

Kriz believes the county needs to purchase more hotels to house the homeless. There were almost 7,000 homeless people in the county, according to the 2019 Point-in-Time count.

Please view the video below

This is a video by Tim Houchen of Hope 4 Restoration showing the yearly process of preparing the labels with the names of homeless persons that die each year and then putting the labels on a “memorial wall”
(This video is courtesy of Hope 4 Restoration)

“This is the time to do it, the hotels are cheaper than before,” Kriz said. “It would save lives…They spend the vast majority of their discretionary funds for law enforcement. So use some of that money to buy hotels.”

While Kriz believes that getting homeless people into hotels is likely the best route, he has complaints about Project Roomkey.

Kriz and Duran both say it puts limits on the homeless, making them stay in the hotels to curtail the spread of the virus. Duran likened the hotels and shelters to being run like “prisons.”

“Arguably it is justified for the reasons of, you know, that they don’t want people to be wandering all over the place and then bringing COVID into the hotel,” Kriz said. “… If you’re saying that people cannot freely leave, you’re basically asking people to join operation Roomkey, then it becomes essentially voluntary incarceration.”

It isn’t exactly clear what the answer is to protecting the homeless from the virus.

Kriz contends that the shelters were important but now can pose an issue with the spreading of the virus. He said shelters institute a 3-foot minimum distancing between beds. Yet, the consensus seems to hold that 6 feet of social distancing is necessary for fending off the spread of the virus.

“It’s 3-feet head-to-toe bed placement, which results in 6-feet face-to-face,” Austin said. “That is from the state.”

“The same standard for everything else is 6 feet,” Kriz said. “The only exemption, as far as I know, is for the homeless. That is something that is almost certainly not lost on them.”

Austin said the county is coordinating with homeless shelters to guide and recommend the best practices for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. He said this includes operational changes and reducing the number of occupants for the sake of social distancing.

This article courtesy of the Daily Pilot


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