CSAC Holds Regional Meeting in Orange County
Discussion Focuses on the Economy and Homelessness
September 22, 2016
More than 40 county supervisors and senior staff from eight Southern California Counties participated in CSAC’s regional meeting in Orange County today where the focus was on the global economy and its impact on local governments, the pervasiveness of homelessness, and how state and local governments are working together to manage this complex issue.
“Our regional meetings are a critical component of bringing people together to learn more about the most important issues we are all dealing with at the County level,” said CSAC Executive Director Matt Cate. “Today we had great discussions about the economy, how it impacts counties, and about homelessness, which affects every county from Alpine to Los Angeles. It’s in settings like this that people really connect and begin working collaboratively.”
(Please click here for the power point slides from the regional meeting presentations)
Economists Gary Schlossberg from Wells Capital Management and Ben Ayers from Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company started things off, discussing the state of the global economy. In general, they feel the economy has been somewhat erratic for the past 12 months or so—with uneven growth and some periods of slow or no growth.
Schlossberg, however, said he is generally optimistic. “I expect to see us return to growth in 2017—with 2-2.5 percent economic growth on average over the next 12-18 months.” Ayers agreed—noting that while interest rates will likely climb in December, he does not expect a large or steady increase for the foreseeable future.
That was followed by a panel discussion focused on how global and national economic trends translate into local economies. and specifically, into county budgets. The panel included Orange County Executive Officer Frank Kim, Riverside County Executive Officer Jay Orr and San Bernardino County Assistant Executive Officer Mary Jane Olhasso. The consensus? Global trends do affect local governments. But figuring out exactly how that’s going to happen in any given year is a very difficult task, especially considering varied regional and local economies, and the complexity of count budgets and responsibilities.
The economy has impacts up and down the socio-economic scale, and while there is evidence now that the improving economic conditions are being felt by the upper and middle classes, many of the poorest people among us are still struggling. Every county in the state is dealing with homelessness to one degree or another.
California Housing and Community Development Director Ben Metcalf presented on state housing and homeless priorities, saying while the problem can seem overwhelming, he is heartened by a renewed interest in dealing with it, and a new and robust collaborative effort.
“What we know for sure about homelessness is that no one can tackle it alone, and so I am encouraged by the prospect of more collaboration.” He also noted that the Governor recently signed the “No Place Like Home” bill—which will result in more than $2 billion in bond funds that can be used to develop more housing and programs to help the homeless population.
The final panel of the day consisted of four experts on homelessness from San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino and Los Angeles Counties. They shared their “boots on the ground” perspective about what is working to reduce homelessness.
Overall, the Regional meeting in Orange allowed for important learning and discussion on key policy issues affecting counties.
“Progress on critical policy issues comes from solving challenges together,” Cate said. “Regional meetings provide the forum to learn from key experts and share innovative solutions to statewide issues. They also provide a great opportunity for the CSAC team to see and hear first-hand how policy issues we work on at the Capitol have impact locally.”
“I’m really gratified that CSAC conducted this meeting in Orange County,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. “It gave us the chance to showcase some of our approaches to homelessness, and also to learn more about how our neighboring counties and the state are approaching this issue. We are very happy to play host.”