CSAC Bulletin Article

Governor Affirms Counties’ Role in Reducing Homelessness in Unprecedented Meeting with San Bernardino County

April 18, 2019

In a meeting on Tuesday with the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors, Governor Gavin Newsom affirmed the key regional role counties play in combatting homelessness and announced his Homelessness & Supportive Housing Regional Advisory Task Force. Led by one county leader and one city leader, the homelessness task force will work to get jurisdictions to plan and work together in order to have the greatest possible impact in their communities.

“I’ve long said regions rise together,” said Governor Newsom. “Cities, counties and continuums of care are all pivotal players in helping create long-term, sustained solutions to homelessness throughout this state. All of us need to have skin in the game, and we need to leverage every available resource – federal, state and local dollars – to fight homelessness across California.”

The Governor traveled to San Bernardino County to hear about the County’s innovative initiatives on homelessness. He was welcomed to the county by Board Chair Curt Hagman and vice chair and CSAC Board of Directors member Josie Gonzales. Chief Executive Officer Gary McBride and key county staff also participated in presentations on health services for the homeless, housing search assistance, hotel and motel conversions, the county’s First Step employment initiative, and Sheriff John McMahon’s HOPE team.

During the meeting, Governor Newsom asked the County about its needs, inquiring “Where are the gaps in services at county-level… where do you need money?” He also focused on the need for mental health services and substance use disorder treatment, and leaped upon the county’s efforts to convert existing hotels and motels into housing and the coordination of tailored support services for residents. 

San Bernardino County, like all counties, agreed with the Governor on the need for behavioral health services, rapid re-housing and support for hotel/motel conversions. The County also indicated that coordinating fund sources and applying the right resources at the right time are important to any efforts to combat homelessness.

Addressing homelessness remains a top legislative priority for CSAC, as counties are uniquely positioned as regional providers of the full range of services needed by homeless individuals. CSAC, the Urban Counties of California and the Rural County Representatives of California partnered on a letter to the Governor and the Legislature supporting the Governor’s January budget proposal for $500 million in funding for homeless services, $100 million for county Whole Person Care pilot programs, and the need to utilize the most recent 2019 point-in-time homeless counts for funding allocations. 

Governor Newsom’s May Revise budget is expected to solidify these allocations, focusing on regional planning and solutions and making funding available to cities and counties that meet homelessness benchmarks. The Governor’s office has indicated that funding will prioritize emergency shelters and motel/hotel conversions to move those living on the street and in shelters into stable housing, such as permanent supportive housing, and employment opportunities for homeless individuals.

CSAC would like to thank Governor Newsom for his leadership in addressing the homelessness crisis in California. His visit to San Bernardino County confirms his commitment to assisting local communities on the front lines of providing shelter, support services, and housing supports to homeless Californians.

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