Current Events & Information
National Alliance to End Homelessness California 2023 Housing Budget Summary
At the end of June, legislative leaders and Governor Newsom announced a $311 billion budget deal, which includes $226 billion in General Fund spending, along with strategies to address a $30 billion deficit. The big picture budget deal is accompanied by a number of ‘’trailer bills’’ that address key details and policy of some of the state’s funded programs. Of particular note are the identical AB 129/SB 129, which includes a range of funded programs for FY 23-24, as well as significant policy changes to the State’s Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) program. While the budget did not meet the scale of our housing crisis, it’s significant that housing programs did not see major cuts in a year where the budget faced a multibillion dollar deficit.
Affordable Housing and Homelessness Investments in the Budget
Key investments in the affordable housing space include:
- $500 million in the State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program;
- $325 million in the Multi-family Housing Program (MHP);
- $250 million in the State’s Adaptive Reuse program.
- $225 million in the Infill Infrastructure Grant program;
- $75 million for the State Excess Sites Program; and
- $50 million for the Veterans Housing and Homelessness Prevention (VHHP) program.
A number of key homelessness investments were also included in the budget:
- $1 billion for the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) program;
- $400 million for the Encampment Resolution Funding (ERF) program; and
- funding of the Administration’s proposed Transitional Rent program, which would create a new CalAIM community support to provide up to six months of rent or interim housing for individuals exiting an institution.
San Bernardino County 2023, Affordable Housing Needs Report
The San Bernardino County 2023 Affordable Housing Needs Report recently released its key findings:
- Renters in San Bernardino County need to earn $36.36 per hour - 2.3 times the state minimum wage - to afford the average monthly asking rent of $1,891.
- 54,954 low-income renter households in San Bernardino County do not have access to an affordable home.
- State and federal funding for housing production and preservation in San Bernardino County is $196 million, a 115% increase from the year prior.
- 84% of extremely low-income households in San Bernardino County are paying more than half of their income on housing costs compared to 2% of moderate-income households.
- In 2022 in San Bernardino County, there were only 2,866 beds available in the interim and permanent housing supply for persons experiencing homelessness.
HHAP Round 3 Summary and Round 4 Update
Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) Program Round 3
On December 17, 2021, the State of California Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council (HCFC), now known as the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH), released a Notice of Funding Availability for HHAP Round 3 grant funding. HHAP Round 3 is a $1 billion block grant program authorized by AB 140 (Health & Safety Code § 50218.6, et seq.), which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on July 19, 2021.
HHAP Round 3 funding is made available as non-competitive allocations to eligible grantees, including California’s CoCs, as identified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), large cities (with a population of 300,000 or more as of January 1, 2020), counties and federally recognized tribal governments. Individual allocations for each of the eligible applicants are based on their proportionate share of the state’s homeless population as reported by HUD in the 2019 Point-In-Time (PIT) count.
The SBC CoC was allocated $3,901,874.80 in HHAP-3 funding.
On January 25, 2023, the Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) adopted the recommendation to establish a HHAP-3 Implementation & Oversight Committee, with at least one representative from each region working with the Office of Homeless Services (OHS) in its role as the CoC-designated HHAP-3 Administrative Entity, on the implementation of HHAP-3 system support activities and the project funding application process.
With this, the HHAP-3 Implementation & Oversight Committee and OHS initiated the Systems Improvement and Supports activities approved by ICH with the 20% initial disbursement of HHAP-3 funds, $780,374.96, which included:
- $300,000 for Capacity Building/Workforce Development activities for systemservice providers.
- $200,000 for systems support activities necessary to create regional partnerships and maintain a homeless services & housing delivery system.
- $147,711 to address racial disproportionality in homeless populations and achieve equitable provision of services and outcomes.
- $78,037.50 to support development of the CoC Youth Advisory Board and youth specific
coordinated entry system activities.
The following was the approved distribution of the 80% remainder balance of funds ($3,121,499.84):
- $218,504.99 for administration (7%)
- $312,149.98 for services for homeless youth populations (10%)
- $2,590,844.87 for regional service projects with a baseline of $100,000 per region and the balance distributed based on the 2022 PITC numbers.
Below is a breakdown using this formula:
$1,417,232.87 - Central Valley Region
$518,169 - Desert Region
$162,725 - East Valley Region
$141,817 - Mountain Region
$350,901 - West Valley Region
The following are the approved contract awards for our desert region on June 28, 2023.
- Victor Valley Family Resource Center: $388,626.75
- Desert Manna: $64,771.13
- Growing Outreach, Growing Opportunities: $64,771.13
Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) Program Round 4
On October 26, 2022, ICH approved and directed the OHS to submit the HHAP Round 4 application on behalf of the CA-609 San Bernardino City and County Continuum of Care (SBC CoC). OHS received the Standard Agreement from the State on April 28, 2023. On May 4, 2023, OHS received a letter of support from the ICH Chair to take the necessary steps to have the authorized signatory execute the Standard Agreement for HHAP-4 funding on behalf of the SBC CoC. The County Board of Supervisors approved the acceptance of the award on behalf of OHS for the County and SBC CoC on May 9, 2023. The Standard Agreement was submitted to Cal-ICH, meeting the May 25, 2023, deadline.
The Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) Round 4 allocation in the total amount of $8,587,269.24, with $4,430,501.22 allocated for the CA-609 San Bernardino City and County Continuum of Care (SBC CoC), and $4,156,768.02 for San Bernardino County (County).
This fourth round of HHAP funds has a five-year expenditure timeline with an initial disbursement of 50% of the funds. The remaining funds will be distributed as outcomes are achieved and reported to the State.
California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness
The California Statewide Study of People Experiencing Homelessness (CASPEH), conducted by The University of California, San Francisco Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI), is the largest representative study of homelessness in the United States since the mid-1990s. The study provides a comprehensive look at the causes and consequences of homelessness in California and recommends policy changes to shape programs in response. According to the Executive Summary, here were the policy recommendations:
- Increase access to housing affordable to
extremely low income households (those making
less than 30% of the Area Median Income) through
(1) supporting production of housing (e.g., Low
Income Housing Tax Credits, leveraging land use
tools), (2) expanding availability of rental subsidies
(e.g., Housing Choice Vouchers), and (3) supporting
their use on the rental market (e.g., increase housing
navigation services, create and enforce anti-
- Expand targeted homelessness prevention
(e.g., financial support, legal assistance) at service
settings (e.g., social service agencies, healthcare
settings, domestic violence services, community
organizations) for both leaseholders and non-lease
holders. Expand prevention and transition services
at institutional exits (jails, prisons). Expand and
strengthen eviction protections.
- Provide robust supports to match the
behavioral health needs of the population by
(1) increasing access to low barrier mental health,
substance use, and harm reduction services during
episodes of homelessness (including unsheltered
settings) and (2) appropriately staffing permanent
supportive housing with evidence-based models
(e.g., pathways to housing, assertive community
treatment, and intensive case management) that
meet the needs of the population.
- Increase household incomes through
evidence-based employment supports (e.g.,
training, transportation) and affirmative outreach
to support increasing receipt of benefits.
- Increase outreach and service delivery to
people experiencing homelessness, including a
focus on unsheltered settings.
- Embed a racial equity approach in all aspects
of homeless system service delivery. Ensure that
prevention activities and coordinated entry priori-
tization schemes address racial inequities; and that
service delivery is conducted in a way that support
San Bernardino County Supervisors enact Laura’s Law to reduce crime and homelessness
On June 13, 2023, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors acted unanimously to improve outcomes for those with mental illnesses, enhance public safety, and reduce the number of homeless residents by enacting Laura’s Law, opening the way for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment.
“By taking this action, we are strengthening the partnership between County Behavioral Health, the Sheriff, and the County’s entire law and justice system to ensure the well-being and rights of all of our residents, including the mentally ill, are served and protected,” said Board of Supervisors Chair Dawn Rowe.
Laura’s Law is a state statute named after a woman who was one of three people killed in Nevada County by an individual with mental illness who was not following his prescribed mental health treatment. The legislation established an option for counties to utilize courts, probation, and mental health systems to address the needs of individuals unable to participate in community mental health treatment programs without supervision.
“I appreciate the unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors to taking today’s meaningful step to address the human component of our current mental health crisis and its associated effects. I look forward to working with all our county partners as we collaboratively develop and implement solutions”, said Sheriff Shannon Dicus.
Dicus reports that the vast majority of the mentally ill homeless residents encountered by his Homeless Outreach and Proactive Enforcement (HOPE) team don’t understand they are mentally ill and therefore resist help. Laura’s Law will allow for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment for those with severe mental illnesses who have a history of hospitalizations, incarceration and violence.
“Homelessness is, in large part, a mental health problem. This action recognizes that reality and gives law enforcement and the courts new tools and resources to ensure that our chronically homeless get the mental health services they need,” said Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Col. Paul Cook (Ret.).
To ensure the local implementation of Laura’s Law is successful, the Board of Supervisors is adding 18 positions to Behavioral Health, the Sheriff’s Department, and the Public Defender’s Office to counsel, treat, and protect the rights of potentially hundreds of new clients.
“The reality is we need to approach this from all angles, including a humanitarian perspective and not having a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Second District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez. “Homelessness and mental health are issues that continue to be close to my heart. I believe that Laura’s Law is one of many actions we will take in partnership with our Sheriff to move forward and help those who cannot help themselves.”
A report by the California Department of Health Care Services found during the 2019-20 fiscal year in 15 counties that had adopted Laura’s Law:
- 72 percent of eligible individuals responded to the initial invitation for voluntary services and did not require a court petition. The participating counties attributed this to successful initial outreach and engagement.
- Homelessness decreased by 32 percent.
- Hospitalization decreased by 40 percent.
- Contact with law enforcement decreased by 42 percent.
- 30 percent of individuals were able to secure employment or participated in employment and/or educational services.
- Victimization decreased by 72 percent.
- Violent behavior decreased by 63 percent.
- Substance abuse was reduced by 21 percent.
San Bernardino County to spend more than $72 million fighting homelessness
San Bernardino County will spend $72.7 million in federal, state and local funds to address homelessness countywide.
In March 2023, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the county’s Homeless Initiatives Spending Plan‘s provisions aimed at increasing the supply of housing for at-risk groups or those already experiencing homelessness.
The funding will go to six initiatives:
- Pacific Village Phase II Expansion: $29.7 million in state and federal funds
- Kern Street Adult Residential Facility Expansion: $2.5 million in state funds
- Project Roomkey Continuance: $4.4 million in federal and state funds
- Social Work Action Group (SWAG): $3.4 million in federal funds
- County Housing Development Grant: $20 million in county and federal funds
- HOME-ARP: $12.7 million in federal funds
Pacific Village Phase II Expansion: Provides semi-private or private housing in unincorporated San Bernardino that can be tailored, when needed, to meet needs of residents who require special behavioral health care. The expansion will dramatically increase the number of people served by Pacific Village, up from 28 residents to about 726 people each year.
Kern Street Adult Residential Facility Expansion: This will convert an existing adult residential facility in Muscoy into a supervised 30-bed facility where people with chronic behavioral health care needs can receive assistance
Project Roomkey Continuance: During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the state-funded Project Roomkey temporarily turned hotel and motel rooms into housing for the homeless. The funding was due to run out on March 31, 2023, potentially sending older people and those with high medical risks back onto the streets. The funding approved by the board will continue to provide funding for up to 90 beds through Project Roomkey, covering food, laundry services and security while the county works to find permanent housing for the people using the program.
The Social Work Action Group (SWAG): This program connects with homeless people on the street, guiding them to services and housing, working in cooperation with a number of county programs. In the staff report, the county credits SWAG with connecting with 165 homeless people since December 2021, getting 63 of those people into shelters. The board voted to extend SWAG’s contract for 24 months.
The County Housing Development Grant: This program will likely be used to set up a program to distribute $20 million in grants to third parties, typically cities in the county, to support their homeless housing projects, emphasizing the building of new units. Details of the program and possible adjustments to the budget, will be coming soon.
Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Investment Partnerships-American Rescue Plan (HOME-ARP) program: This program provides a one-time grant of $12.7 million to assist local residents who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, fleeing domestic violence or likely to face housing instability. The funds can be used for affordable rent programs, shelters, support services, rental assistance and program administration costs.
San Bernardino County Point-In-Time Count 2023 Numbers Released
San Bernardino County experienced a 26% increase in homelessness in the past year, according to the The Homeless Point in Time Count.
The homeless spike was mostly fueled by a rapid increase in rent costs, a shortage of affordable housing, and the deepening crisis of mental health and substance use disorders, the report showed.