The Coast News Group

County receives nearly $2 million to reduce homelessness

REGION — Between October and November, the county of San Diego has been awarded nearly $2 million in federal funds from the state to help reduce homelessness.

Sen. Patricia Bates’ (R-Laguna Niguel) office recently announced that more than $1 million has been awarded to Orange and San Diego counties to help reduce homelessness in the region.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) awarded funds through its California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH) program to the two Southern California counties. According to HCD’s website, the CESH grants are awarded based on three factors: the 2017 Point-in-Time Count, the number of extremely low-income households in rental housing that pay more than 50% of household income on rent, and the percentage of households below the federal poverty line.

In 2017, there were approximately 9,116 people found living on the streets or in shelters according to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. The 2019 Point-in-time Count found fewer people with approximately 8,102 homeless individuals either sheltered or unsheltered.

CESH funds can be used in five primary categories: housing relocation and stabilization services (such as rental assistance), operating subsidies for permanent housing, flexible housing subsidy funds, support for emergency housing interventions, and support for homelessness services and housing delivery systems.

The grant money comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the intent to eliminate homelessness by helping individuals and families become independent through fast rehousing, emergency shelters, street outreach, counseling, treating substance abuse and job training, according to the state senator’s office.

Orange County will receive $605,188 and the county of San Diego will receive $453,822.

That $1 million total is in addition to $2.5 million in state funding awarded to both San Diego and Orange counties back in October to help reduce homelessness. Orange County received $1.1 million while San Diego received $1.4 million.

“These grants will help connect more people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness with the services they need,” Bates said in a statement provided to The Coast News.

According to Ronald Ongtoaboc, communications director for Bates’ office, the money will “go far” to help some people get off the streets and to needed services.

“The grants may not be able to help everybody in need, but every dollar helps,” Ongtoaboc said via email.