County Earmarks $72.7 Million For Homeless Programs

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors this week committed the county to a concerted effort to reduce homelessness throughout the 20,105-square mile jurisdiction they oversee, saying they will utilize $72.7 million in federal, state and county resources to support what has been dubbed the 2022 Homeless Strategic Action Plan.
Referencing that plan, which was approved by the slightly differently constituted board last June, Fourth District Supervisor Curt Hagman said, “As a board, we are leveraging all of the resources at our disposal and thinking outside the box by linking housing and other services to give people who are struggling a foundation of stability.”
Hagman said it was hoped the approach would enable “people to break through the challenges they are facing and get back on their feet and off the streets. Addressing the root causes of homelessness is the most effective means of reducing the numbers of people experiencing homelessness and providing a path forward for the individuals and the community at large.” The Homeless Initiatives Spending Plan approved by the board on Tuesday includes $15 million from the county’s general fund to be used as grants to fund community-based homeless housing projects.
The $72.7 million in available federal, state and county money will be ventured toward six initiatives. Those include $29.7 million for the Pacific Village Phase II expansion in Highland, increasing the number of individuals connected with housing and supportive services by 698 to approximately 726 annually.
Another $2.5 million will go to the Kern Street Adult Residential Facility expansion in San Bernardino, where a conversion of an existing adult residential facility to a 30-bed facility that provides rooms, meals, supervision, distribution of medicine, and personal care assistance to individuals with chronic behavioral health issues and who are unable to live by themselves.
The county is earmarking $4.4 million to perpetuate the State funded Project Roomkey program that was put in place at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which paid for temporary housing for the homeless at numerous hotels and motels. The state is discontinuing that funding today, March 31, and the $4.4 million is intended to provide for the continued temporary housing support of 80 to 90 beds and the necessary components of housing, food, laundry services and security for an additional year as individuals transition from temporary to permanent housing.
The county is providing $3.4 million to the Social Work Action Group, known by its acronym SWAG, which performs street outreach, engagement, housing navigation and case management services to individuals and families who are homeless in concert with the Sheriff’s Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE) team, the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health, the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services and community-based providers. In partnership with SWAG, the County has engaged with 165 homeless individuals since December 2021, with 63 (38%) of those individuals being sheltered. The $3.4 million will extend these efforts for another two years. The County Housing Development Grant initiative will have staff explore the development of a $20 million county grant program that can be offered to third parties (primarily partner cities) to support homeless housing projects, with a focus on the construction of new units that provide additional housing beds.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) HOME-ARP Program allocated the county $12.7 million to assist with addressing the region’s housing needs and provision of homeless services. As a requirement of the agreement, the county must by today, March 31, provide an allocation plan detailing for which categories the county intends to use HOME-ARP funding.

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