OCEANSIDE — City staff is gearing up to present potential affordable housing developers and homeless shelter operators at the upcoming June 16 Oceanside City Council meeting.
According to City Manager Deanna Lorson, staff will be bringing such items forward for Council’s consideration at the upcoming meeting.
These items will include responses from potential bidders to the city’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for a homeless shelter operator and affordable housing development.
The city released its NOFA for the homeless shelter and affordable housing earlier this year to combat its homelessness crisis.
Currently, the city does not have an overnight shelter. With its search for a potential operator, the city plans to open “a transitional homeless shelter with wrap-around services to obtain stability and transition people into permanent housing.”
Leading up to those proposal considerations, Council recently considered an item to renew its contract with Interfaith Community Services to continue providing social workers to the police department’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) for an additional three years.
Using Measure X funds, two full-time social workers are provided to HOT for assistance with helping people who are experiencing homelessness.
These social workers provide a “non-enforcement approach,” which the police department argues is essential for building better rapport, trust and communication between officers and the community.
“The clinicians that are assigned to our Homeless Outreach Team provide an invaluable resource to our officers that aid in getting our chronically homeless individuals into services and on a path to being housed,” said Police Chief Fred Armijo at the June 2 council meeting.
The item ended up narrowly passing by a 3-2 vote, with Councilmembers Christopher Rodriguez and Kori Jensen opposed.
Rodriguez had made a different motion asking to postpone the contract renewal until the city chooses vendors through its upcoming proposals.
“I think it’s premature to sign on to a three-year contract when we’re going to be negotiating and choosing a vendor,” Rodriguez said. “The services will overlap.”
He added that there isn’t any rush to approve a contract renewal with Interfaith since the current contract doesn’t expire until October.
Mayor Esther Sanchez noted that the upcoming proposal considerations are not related to HOT and that the team is needed for coordination purposes and providing service referrals.
Lorson also clarified that the upcoming NOFA proposals do not overlap with HOT services.
“This contract is for the social workers that are paired with the Homeless Outreach Team, which will be one of the intake ways and one of the ways that we’ll be able to connect with people out in the community and then bring them into the shelter, but they will be separate contracts and separate operations,” Lorson said.
Rodriguez’s motion to postpone the contract renewal with Interfaith failed by a 2-3 vote.