CSAC Bulletin Article

CSAC Regional Meeting: Building Solutions to the Housing Affordability and Homelessness Crises

March 21, 2019

On any given night, California’s sheltered and unsheltered homeless population is roughly 130,000 people. Homelessness impacts all 58 California counties—rural and urban, northern and southern, inland and coastal. The affordability and availability of housing is at alarming levels in almost every part of the state. The housing issue is not only a crisis in its own right, but is one of the main drivers of California’s homelessness emergency.

CSAC continues to advocate for increased funding for affordable housing and finding flexibility in the use of existing funds in Sacramento. Today, more than 75 representatives from 15 different counties convened in Monterey County to discus realities of addressing homelessness and housing during the CSAC Central Coast & Central Valley Regional meeting.

“CSAC’s ongoing advocacy around the priorities of housing and homelessness has yielded significant results,” said CSAC President and Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass. “Yet, counties and local communities on the front lines continue to face major challenges in programming and implementation to address these crises.”

The timing of the Regional Meeting as ideal as funding from the 2017 housing package is beginning to roll out to counties, and the California Department of Housing and Community Development has issued draft guidelines for planning grants and homeless funding from SB 2 (Atkins, 2017), which is expected to raise approximately $250 million annually. In 2019 and beyond, counties and cities will receive seventy-percent of this funding to support local affordable housing.

“Homelessness and affordable housing solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all,” said Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo. “CSAC’s Regional Meetings are so valuable because they allow for collaboration and idea sharing among counties facing similar aspects of these complex, statewide issues.”  

With a focus on local solutions to homelessness and affordable housing, CSAC’s first Regional Meeting of 2019 featured a lively dialogue and sharing of experiences between experts from Fresno, Monterey, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Sonoma and San Luis Obispo Counties, statewide organizations, community-based organizations and policy analysts.

Participants shared their local experiences, perspectives, and successes—including how one county’s homelessness intervention efforts have reduced trips to the emergency room and cut down on days in jail. Participants then had the opportunity to hear insights and best practices for navigating financing for affordable housing projects. Another session on local solutions focused on how counties are addressing homelessness through supportive services, planning and building a spectrum of housing options to address unmet needs.

“I am so pleased to see so much of this Regional Meeting agenda focused on sharing and collaboration,” said Monterey County Supervisor Mary Adams. “Attendees explored a wide variety of innovative approaches and best practices that counties can consider in addressing affordable housing and homelessness issues.”

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