L.A. County, United Way grants city $50,000 for homeless strategies

Lori Broadway sits in Veteran's Historical Plaza Park. Austin Dave /The Signal

Santa Clarita will be getting $50,000 to strategize ways to prevent and combat homelessness.

L.A. County’s 88 cities had the opportunity to apply in July outlining how they would create localized solutions in collaboration with the county and contractors using their Measure H funding.

The Home for Good Funders Collaborative grant is provided by United Way of Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles County.

“This is an important part of our regional effort to combat homelessness,” Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s Communications Deputy Tony Bell said. “We are working with providers and cities in a bottom-up approach.”

The grant program is being funded with over $2 million allocated by the Board of Supervisors to help cities plan how they’ll use their Measure H funds provided through the quarter-cent tax approved in the March special election.

All cities who submitted a viable application are receiving funding.

“Because this is city money, we’re going to discuss internally what we can do with it to maximize it,” Mayor Cameron Smyth said.

The city’s ad hoc committee on homelessness will discuss how to best utilize the funds at their next meeting and will then propose ideas to the full council later, according to Smyth.

At past meetings, the committee focused primarily on how they would orient funds to benefit nonprofit organizations.

“We will utilize these grant funds to engage a diverse group of internal departments and external community partners to create a local homelessness plan that coordinates with current community and county systems and strategies to end homelessness,” City Communications Manager Carrie Lujan said. “We are currently identifying the next steps.”

Of those who applied for the grant, 47 cities were selected, earning $30,000 for those with up to 100 homeless individuals, $50,000 for those with between 100 and 400 individuals and $70,000 for those with over 400 individuals.

In the January homeless count, Santa Clarita reported 331 people were homeless in the city.

“We’re collectively fighting for all of our homeless neighbors and these cities are at the frontlines providing hope for a better future for all in L.A. County,” Elise Buik, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles said in a statement. “We can end homelessness if we all say yes to housing – and this innovative program proves that the solutions can start in the areas that we know best.”

All cities will start their strategic planning at a meeting in Downtown L.A. on Nov. 29.

Each city must finalize plans for their funding no later than March 30, 2018.

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