HEAP Funding Ideas

While the process of constructing the new public/private Homeless System of Care Leadership Council, and its 25-member Technical Advisory Committee is not completed yet, the suggestions from government and providers as to what they want funded began on Monday at the last meeting of the now-defunct Continuum of Care (CoC) Committee.

Held in the Sonoma County Community Development Commission Office on Guerneville Road, the meeting agenda contained an item titled “HEAP  Input Session – HEAP Funding Priorities”.  Framed as the opportunity for the CoC to advise the new Leadership Council of its recommendations for  the expenditure of $12.1 million in available state budget funding for “immediate emergency assistance to people experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of homelessness”, the discussion wasted no time before identifying project expenditures supporting a wide range of short, medium, and long-term housing solutions.

Kelli Kuykendall, representing the City of Santa Rosa advocated that the funds be used to provide a new roof for the Sam Jones Homeless Shelter.  Jennielynn Holmes, of Catholic Charities, advocated for another Palms Inn.  Tom Bieri, of Community Support Network, advocated for permanent and supportive housing.  Gale Brownell, an unaffiliated member, advocated for rapid re-housing and expanded supportive services.  Turning to the only current member of the new Leadership Council, Jennielynn made her pitch to Julie Combs, Santa Rosa City Council member, sitting in the back of the room.  Clearly, the lobbying has begun in the effort to carve up the state funds among everyone’s pet projects.

Our Calendar will list every meeting we can identify where members of the public can pitch their preferences to members of the Leadership Council.  This next month will be a unique opportunity for our community to increase the understanding of community  leaders on the needs for homeless housing and supportive services.  Let’s not miss out on the  chance. 

Homeless Housing Conference: It Worked

On Friday, Oct 12th, almost a hundred people came together for four hours at the Center for Spiritual Living on Stony Point Road to share and inspire each other about their ideas for new housing and supportive service program designs.  Sponsored by several organizations, the gathering focused on what participants have found works to support those living without permanent shelter.  Twenty speakers took up to ten minutes each presenting slideshows, videos, architectural drawings, and personal stories to advocate for a wide variety of solutions which new state funding could implement.

Homeless Action! Activist Adrienne Lauby commented “We need to work on these ideas together, and make sure they are presented and considered seriously by the new Continuum of Care Leadership Council for HEAP funding.”    The Leadership Council is being formed on Oct 18th at the County Community Development Commission office, 1-4pm, at 1440 Guerneville Road, Santa Rosa.  The nine-member, multi-jurisdictional body will lead and coordinate decision-making on homeless facility and program funding.  

The conference was video-taped, and we will post a link to it here when finished.  Here is a link to the conference folder on Google.

A Very Sad Day

As the five of us sat around Kathryn’s kitchen table, making plans to assist local government officials to respond to the homeless housing crisis, less than one-half mile away police were destroying the homes and property of city residents.   Posted today in the “Voices on Homelessness” Blog  are the accounts of two at the table, Scott Wagner and Kathryn Jurik, concerning the actions of Santa Rosa Police.  “A Cold City September Response” and “Where Do We Go” are provided to give readers a sense of the pain and anguish experienced by our friends on the streets.

Questions for the City Informational Meeting

Are you aware that if you impound the vehicles we are living in, we will lose them due to the impossibility of paying the very high impoundmentfees? How will exacerbating our homelessness in ANY way help either you,us, or the homeless crisis in Sonoma County?

The CORE PRINCIPLE of Mental Health Peer/Recovery—the social justice movement that includes US, the chronically homeless community members of Sonoma County, is: “NOTHING ABOUT ME WITHOUT ME.” Why, then, have you excluded our voices from this public dialogue in which life-changing and life-threatening discussions and decisions are going to be engaged in about us???

What can you do to coordinate the deadline with the ongoing mutli-agency effort to help us smog, register and insure our vehicles because a lot of hard work and kind donations are going into this effort to preserve our only protection from unsheltered life on the streets?

What unsolvable conditions warrant the immediate impoundment of our only protection from unsheltered lif on the streets because dozens of volunteers and agencies are working with us to ensure the health and safety of all residents, employees, and neighbors?  We know it wasn’t always like this, but surely you’ve noticed the situation has improved.

Have you talked with your reliance counselors about a solution that supports our resilience, because we can’t pay the impound fees to get our vehicles back and they are our only line of defense against unsheltered life on the streets?

Will you come  and talk with us after the meeting to explore how we can work together towards a solution which does not result in our losing our only viable shelter?

California Emergency Solutions & Housing (CESH)

I just listened to the first webinar from the California Department of Housing and Community Development following the release last week of their Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for $53 million in state funds for local Administrative Entities (AE) to use to improve their ability to serve homeless.   The allocation for Santa Rosa/Petaluma/Sonoma County is $843,907, and the details are on Appendix A of the Department’s webpage on the CESH Program.  

Ben Metcalf, Department Director, described the program in the first 45 minutes, and then answered questions for an hour.   In our case, the Sonoma County Continuum of Care (CoC) will probably designate the Community Development Commission (CDC) as our administrative entity, and it will have until October 15th to submit an application for the funds.  

Eligible activities
Allocated funds must be used for one or more of the eligible activities listed below:
1) Rental assistance, housing relocation, and stabilization services to
ensure housing affordability to individuals experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of homelessness. Rental assistance provided pursuant to this paragraph shall not exceed 48 months for each assisted household and rent payments shall not exceed two times the current HUD fair market rent for the local area, as determined pursuant to 24 CFR part 888.
2) Operating subsidies in the form of 15-year capitalized operating reserves for new and existing affordable permanent housing units for homeless individuals and/or families.
3) Flexible housing subsidy funds for local programs that establish or support the provision of rental subsidies in permanent housing to assist homeless individuals and families. Funds used for purposes of this paragraph may support rental assistance, bridge subsidies to property owners waiting for approval from another permanent rental subsidy source, vacancy payments, or project-based rent or operating reserves.
Rental assistance provided from flexible housing subsidy funds shall not exceed 48 months for each assisted household, and rent payments shall not exceed twot imes the current HUD fair market rent for the local area, as determined pursuant to 24 CFR part 888. Operating subsidies from flexible housing subsidy funds shall be in the form of 15-year capitalized operating reserves for new or existing affordable permanent housing units for homeless individuals and/or families.
4) Operating support for emergency housing interventions, including, but not limited to, the following:
a) Navigation centers that provide temporary room and board and case
managers who work to connect homeless individuals and families to
income, public benefits, health services, permanent housing, or other shelter.
b) Street outreach services to connect unsheltered homeless individuals and
families to temporary or permanent housing.
c) Shelter diversion, including, but not limited to, homelessness prevention
activities such those described in 24 CFR 576.103, and other necessary
service integration activities such as those described in 24 CFR 576.105, to
connect individuals and families to alternate housing arrangements, services, and financial assistance.
5) Systems support for activities necessary to maintain a comprehensive
homeless services and housing delivery system, including Coordinated Entry System (CES) data, and Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) reporting, and homelessness planning activities.
6) Develop or update a CES, if the CoC does not have a system in place that
meets the applicable HUD requirements, as set forth in Section II.E.3.A of this NOFA. Eligible CES costs do not include capital development activities,
including, but not limited to, real property acquisition, construction, or
rehabilitation activities.
7) Development of a plan addressing actions to be taken within the CoC service area if no such plan exists. If an applicant requests funding to develop a plan, the applicant shall submit the developed plan to HCD prior to the expiration of the contract executed with HCD.
An AE may contract with a subrecipient if the AE determines that the subrecipient is qualified to carry out the eligible activities with the allocated funds. Subrecipients shall include a unit of local government, a private non-profit, or a for-profit organization.

The audio tape of the webinar, and copies of the Department slideshow will be posted on the Department’s CESH website early next week.  We will be inquiring of the CDC about how they plan to solicit input into the requested funded activities for the five-year period of the state grant.  The initial application does not require the identification of sub-recipients, but only the general uses with individual expected budgets and goals.  The AE has a year to make awards to subrecipients.  Homeless Action!  will use future posts to provide any additional updates on either local or state information.

Yesterday at the RV Camp

Hi Everyone,

Three Requests
1)  Bruce Pearson is going to canvass Mercury Way at some point tomorrow.  If you have a few hours, it would be great for him to have a partner.  Also, some of those who got our notice who will come looking for a way to return the completed form or pick up blank ones.  Call me 795-2890.

2)  Consider becoming a “Buddy” with one person next week, to help them get their home/vehicle smog-ed, registered (and repaired if necessary).  Call me 795-2890.

3)  If you can help get a vehicle where Sara was living out of the tow truck lot, email Michael immediately at pomegranate909@gmail.com

As many of you know, on Monday morning we got word that the police were in the R.V. area off Corporate Center Parkway with tow trucks.  Homeless Action! people put a sign on the door of our usual Monday meeting and joined the CAC people who’d come out to help.  They towed a van, Sara’s PT Cruiser and one other vehicle.  Albert B. was woken up by a cop who said his van would be towed as soon as the tow truck arrived.  He had less than 40 minutes to gather his things by the side of the road.

Gregory, Gail, Bruce, Michael T., Victoria, Eileen, Colleen, Thomas, Anita, Adrian S. and I supported people, did legal observing and whatever else we could do to help.  Kathleen called the Press Democrat repeatedly until she reached a reporter.   We gave Albert support all the way to making up his bed at Sam Jones — getting some of his property back along the way.  We also continued work on a survey of those who are living there.   Someone made a video.  Would you please “reply all” to this email and send us a link?

Michael is trying to raise money toward getting Sara’s PT Cruiser out of the tow truck lot.  It costs $200 plus $55 per day that it is in the tow yard. So we are looking at about $365 if we can get it out on Wednesday. So far we only have $165.  If you can help, email Michael immediately at pomegranate909@gmail.com

Many people have left the area.

Gregory, Julie Combs, Jack Tibbetts and Jennielynn Holmes all talked to “People Who Decide” about leaving the residents alone as long as they are working with us on their registration and/or working with the HOST people through Coordinated Entry.

The Press Democrat did a front page story on Tuesday morning:

On Monday afternoon, we knew that we will have a donor for $15,000 toward registering and getting many of vehicles up and running.  That was very energizing.  We particularly want to save the R.V.’s and Trailers which make a home for many of these folks.

We began offering a Request for Funding form.  So far, 25 people have filled out the Request Forms. It’s likely we’ll have more than 30 by the end of the week.   We are going up and down the streets, usually in pairs, and talking to people one by one, and filling out the forms.  We’ve done all the streets but one.

No one was towed today.

We’ve begun putting the attached sign on special orange paper on the vehicles who have filled out their Request for Funding forms and are working with us on their registration.  But, we have no agreement from the SRPD that they will honor this sign.

There’s a meeting on Thursday at 2 pm among “People Who Decide” about what do to.  Capt. Craig Schwartz is in charge of the police actions.

This is why I asked you to  “Buddy Up” with one person to help them get their home/vehicle smog-ed and registered (and repaired if necessary)  If each of us takes one person, we can do this smoothly and quickly, with joy and happiness for all.

TOMORROW (Wednesday)
There are a lot of stories and much hardship.  I’d like to tell you about some of the people I talked with today but I think it’s better to protect their privacy.  Any of you who have done interviews at any of the camps know how your heart both opens and breaks as you talk with people.

I’m taking a day off from the camp tomorrow, so I can straighten out the paperwork and get it all in order.  You can catch me at home until about 1 pm.  795-2890


Homeless Housing Funds Coming

California’s 2018-19 Budget contains several allocations which will soon be available to counties and cities which have declared homeless housing emergencies.  Sonoma County’s Continuum of Care Committee, staffed by the County Community Development Commission, will be the arena in which at least somewhere between $12.1 and $16.9 million worth of permanent supportive housing funds will be distributed to community agencies, nonprofit, and profit developers to construct housing for homeless in the next couple of years.

Yesterday, California released its first set of announcements concerning the hundreds of millions of dollars they expect to distribute to counties over the next two years for homeless housing.  To learn more about these funds, and what the state has in mind, click on the following links:

HEAP, Overview

HCD Proactive Funding – Next 12 Months

California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH)

Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP)

California’s 2017 Housing Package

Welcome to Homeless Action!

Joe Rodota Trail Property Returned

Last Wednesday, we notified the Sonoma County Community Development Commission (CDC) that we no longer needed access to their Roseland Hardware Store.  The building, used to store the personal possessions of some of those who lived on the Joe Rodota Trail before their eviction by Sonoma County Regional Parks, had been cleared of almost all of its property by Homeless Action! and Trail residents.  Remaining in the Store were the property of three residents: Christine Atkins, Don Umberger, and Betty Baker.  Homeless Action! indicated to CDC that we believe they now retain responsibility to secure the property until these residents can reclaim it.  

Join us on Mondays from 9:30-11:00 am in the community room at the First United Methodist Church, 1717 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa.