Washington—The Orange County Board of Supervisors last week unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) legislation to increase federal resources to battle homelessness.
According to preliminary data from Orange County’s biennial Point in Time count, Orange County has 6,860 homeless individuals, compared to 4,792 in 2017.
“The latest counts of homeless individuals in California show increasing numbers throughout the state and illustrate why we must do more to address this growing problem,” Senator Feinstein said. “We need a comprehensive approach that pairs affordable housing with programs to address the root causes of homelessness, like drug addiction or mental health services. I’m proud to have the support of local leaders like the Orange County Board of Supervisors because they’re dealing with this crisis first hand and know exactly what resources are needed.”
“I am very grateful for the work and dedication Senator Feinstein has shown towards the issue of homelessness,” said Chairwoman, Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Board of Supervisors, 5th District. “As every county across the nation battles together, it is important we have this level of support from our legislators and federal government to solve this dire issue. I want to thank Senator Feinstein and her amazing staff for working with the County of Orange on this legislation and look forward to its passage and implementation.”
Senator Feinstein’s legislation would:
- Authorize $750 million annually for five years to fund supportive housing models that provide comprehensive services and intensive case management.
- Require a 25 percent match for services and housing from non-federal funds.
- Allow grants to be used for any combination of operations and capital building costs, as long as housing and services requirements are fulfilled.
- Require grantees to track outcomes and report on housing stability and improvements in health and wellbeing, including education of children.
Grant eligibility and requirements:
- Grants may go to local governmental entities consisting of cities, counties, regional collaboratives and tribal governments.
- Services must address issues including mental health; substance use disorders; disabling or other chronic health conditions; educational and job training/employment outcomes; and life skills classes.
- Intensive case management must be provided with a ratio of no greater than 1 case manager to every 20 people served.
- When serving families with children, services available must also include children’s behavioral and mental health services, early childhood education, regular and age-appropriate children’s programming and activities, child health and nutrition screening and education and parenting classes and support programs.
- Services must also have in place protocol for staff training and best practices to identify and prevent child trafficking, abuse, and neglect.
In addition to Orange County Board of Supervisors, the Fighting Homelessness Through Services and Housing Act is supported by more than 90 individuals and organizations including the mayors of Santa Ana, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento, as well as the Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Mayors and CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment, National Alliance to End Homelessness and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.