California mayors want $3 billion over 3 years for flexible homeless funding

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Mayors of California’s 11 largest cities on Monday asked Governor Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to approve $3 billion over three years in the state budget for flexible funding for homeless people directly in communities. cities. The mayors said flexible homeless funding is approved annually and is asking for a three-year commitment from lawmakers and the governor. They said funds from the Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program have enabled them to find innovative ways to tackle homelessness in their cities, including building tiny shacks and landscaping. for people living in motorhomes and other vehicles. The funds enabled mayors to add 9,000 new accommodation beds and help 25,000 homeless people, they told a joint press conference. In San Jose and Oakland, mayors used the funds to build tiny shacks to shelter homeless people who were unwilling to go to a gathering place. In Fresno and Stockton, mayors used part of the flex funds to hire outreach and response workers. Oakland also built a secure RV parking site – the first city in the state to do so. “We’re using all of these dollars to really make the whole homeless system work better and that’s going to continue, and it needs to continue without interrupting funding for about 2/3 of our existing shelter systems,” he said. said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff. If funding stops, “these innovations will fall off a budget cliff,” she added. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said about 16 months ago there were 650 homeless people living near Fresno’s freeways, but thanks to state funds, he was able to hire a team of 18 outreach workers. who helped them move to shelters or permanent housing. “Today, not a single homeless person lives on our highways. There is not a single tent erected on our highways, and that is thanks to the funding we received from the State of California through HHAP and Project Home Key,” he said. Project Home Key funds have helped cities purchase and/or restore buildings that have been used to house homeless people, but these funds cannot be used for other purposes, the mayor of Sacramento said, Darrell Steinberg. “HHAP funds can actually help us operate new buildings that provide temporary or permanent housing for formerly homeless people,” he said. Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said not getting state funds would mean having to dip into general city funds, which would lead to cuts or delays in funding for other programs, including parks, public safety and infrastructure. Even with state funding, the city of Santa Ana has had to use more than $25 million of its general fund to address homelessness, he said. “Cities are not the agency with this responsibility,” he said. “But we can’t ignore the problem either. Nor can we evade the problem. And as mayors, we must face it head on.

The mayors of California’s 11 largest cities on Monday asked Governor Gavin Newsom and the Legislature to approve $3 billion over three years in the state budget for flexible funding for homeless people directly in cities.

The mayors said flexible homeless funding is approved annually and is asking for a three-year commitment from lawmakers and the governor.

They said funds from the Homelessness Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program have enabled them to find innovative ways to tackle homelessness in their cities, including building tiny shacks and landscaping. for people living in motorhomes and other vehicles. The funds enabled mayors to add 9,000 new accommodation beds and help 25,000 homeless people, they told a joint press conference.

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In San Jose and Oakland, mayors used the funds to build tiny shacks to shelter homeless people who were unwilling to go to a gathering place. In Fresno and Stockton, mayors used part of the flex funds to hire outreach and response workers. Oakland also built a secure RV parking site – the first city in the state to do so.

“We’re using all of these dollars to really make the whole homeless system work better and that’s going to continue, and it needs to continue without interrupting funding for about 2/3 of our existing shelter systems,” he said. said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff.

If funding stops, “these innovations will fall off a budget cliff,” she added.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said about 16 months ago there were 650 homeless people living near Fresno’s freeways, but thanks to state funds, he was able to hire a team of 18 outreach workers. who helped them move to shelters or permanent housing.

“Today, not a single homeless person lives on our highways. There is not a single tent erected on our highways, and that is thanks to the funding we received from the State of California through HHAP and Project Home Key,” he said.

Home Key Project funds have helped cities purchase and/or restore buildings that used to house homeless people, but these funds cannot be used for other purposes, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. .

“HHAP funds can actually help us operate new buildings that provide temporary or permanent housing for formerly homeless people,” he said.

Santa Ana Mayor Vicente Sarmiento said not getting state funds would mean having to dip into general city funds, which would lead to cuts or delays in funding for other programs, including parks, public safety and infrastructure.

Even with state funding, the city of Santa Ana has had to use more than $25 million of its general fund to address homelessness, he said.

“Cities are not the agency with this responsibility,” he said. “But we can’t ignore the problem either. Nor can we evade the problem. And as mayors, we have to face it head on.

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