In 2018, the State of California enacted the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) as part of California Senate Bill 850. HEAP provides $500 million in block grants to cities and counties to address homelessness throughout the state. HEAP funds may be expended on a variety of uses that address homelessness, such as prevention, emergency aid, and criminal justice diversion programs for persons with mental health needs.
Santa Barbara County is eligible to receive up to $9.4 million in HEAP funds. Pursuant to Health and Safety Code § 50212(a)(1), in order for a municipality to qualify for HEAP funding, a shelter crisis must be formally declared. On September 18, 2018, Council made this declaration.
In accordance with HEAP regulations, this funding will be allocated through each community’s Continuum of Care (CoC), a federal program that promotes community-wide planning and strategic use of resources to address homelessness. Locally, the CoC program is administered by the Santa Barbara County Housing and Community Development Division, which on October 12, 2018, released a Notice of Funding Availability to solicit proposals for HEAP funds from eligible organizations. The application deadline is November 16, 2018.
In preparation for this competitive HEAP-grant application process, the City has established a partnership with Cottage Hospital, the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara, CityNet, and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), and has developed a comprehensive program to address the homelessness crisis within the City.
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Collaborative Approach Finds Compromise
Innovative Proposal to House City’s Unsheltered High Utilizers Reduced by $4M
Last year’s federally mandated Point in Time Count of homeless individuals estimated that as many as 53 percent of the countywide unsheltered population called our City home. A significant portion of those individuals present a dynamic financial challenge to local taxpayers. Those unsheltered high-utilizers of emergency services continually cycle through finite City resources. That challenge was the impetus to form a continuum of care model in which a consortium of City partnerships aligns to tackle Santa Barbara’s portion of this statewide challenge.
The initiative, Santa Barbara Connect Home, was formed by the City of Santa Barbara in conjunction with Cottage Health, City Net, Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (HACSB), and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) to respond to an emergency funding opportunity carved out by the state legislature.
On November 16, 2018, after an extensive preplanning effort by key stakeholders, the Santa Barbara Connect Home proposal was submitted to the Santa Barbara County Continuum of Care (CoC), seeking $6.5 million in funding from the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), a 30-month, one-time grant. The consortium request was directly related to the countywide percentage of homeless within the City’s jurisdiction. The approach included a low-barrier housing concept to shelter as many as 40 individuals in temporary cottages (“tiny homes”), expanded street-outreach, an additional Restorative Police Officer paired with a nurse practitioner, additional emergency shelter beds at PATH, a Cottage Health navigator, case management, and other supportive services.
The City and its partners quickly pivoted toward compromise when the County selection committee tasked with disseminating those emergency state funds slashed the proposal by more than 70 percent. The adjusted award of $2 million will be allocated toward supporting the following:
Outreach Meeting About Tiny Homes Proposal
A community meeting will be held on November 28 regarding a grant application for funds from the Homeless Emergency Aid Program. The proposal includes temporary use of the commuter lot at Carrillo and Castillo streets to provide "tiny homes" and services to homeless individuals.
Staff from the partner organizations will be present at this meeting to provide information about the project, address concerns and answer questions.
Date: Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Louise Lowry Davis Recreation Center, 1232 De La Vina Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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