Joint Homelessness Task Force: First Meeting Update.
September 23, 2016
CSAC and the League of California Cities hosted the first meeting of a Joint Homelessness Task Force, bringing together more than 20 County Supervisors, City Councilmembers, City Managers and County Executive Officers to share ideas and strategies about how to approach one of the most vexing and pervasive issues our communities face today. The group also heard from Ben Metcalf, the Director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development, about the issue and how it is affecting communities across the state.
Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas is co-chairing the task force. He says the collaboration between cities and counties is long overdue. “The issue of homelessness now transcends every part of our every day,” he said. “For many years, cities and counties have been working independently to try to address the issue, but really, this needs to be a coordinated and comprehensive effort.”
His counterpart, Scotts Valley Councilmember Stephany Aguilar agrees. “Homelessness is an issue that affects all of us. The joint task force will provide some solutions that might work for a lot our communities in the state. I’m really looking forward to this collaboration.”
Director Metcalf gave a presentation that partially focused on the “No Place Like Home” initiative that Governor Brown recently signed into law. It will allow the state to sell up to $2 billion in bonds to help the homeless mentally ill, and use funds from the mental health services act to repay those bonds over time. While the funds won’t be available immediately, CSAC is gathering a technical working group and the state is convening a stakeholder advisory committee to develop guidelines to assist counties in applying for those funds when they are available.
There is more work to do as well. Councilmember Aguilar says a lot of what they can do in the short term revolves around simply sharing success stories that can be replicated. “I think the next step will be to find out what has really worked well in different communities and in a sense, put that into a blueprint that might work for our communities. I’m hoping we can work collaboratively with the counties, cities and the state to get funding for these solutions.”
The agenda, presentations and other documents from first Homelessness Task Force meeting are available here. The next Homelessness Task Force meeting will take place November 28 in Los Angeles.