As they now look for the community’s input from residents, the Santa Clarita City Council released a draft Thursday of the Community Plan to Address Homelessness to unite housing nonprofit groups to fully tackle the growing problem of homelessness.
“We feel we need to get our fair share,” Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean said of using Los Angeles County Measure H funding to its fullest in bringing the efforts of shelters together.
McLean, along with Councilman Cameron Smyth, met with different nonprofit housing organizations through the city’s Homeless Ad Hoc Committee along with county representatives, she said. From here, the outcome is to assure all the necessary funding to expand the groups’ work into a comprehensive program addressing all of the aspects of homelessness, she added.
The solution to homelessness is housing, said Peggy Edwards, president of the nonprofit Bridge to Home board of directors.
“Overall, I’m very impressed,” she said. “(The plan) covers a full range of issues. I’m just delighted the city has done this.”
The plan recognizes that it’s not just homeless shelter providers that need to be better equipped and funded — this needs to involve the entire community, Edwards said.
The city received a grant of $50,000 from L.A. County to hire a firm to conduct research in the Santa Clarita Valley, McLean said. The group, Analytic Insight LLC, uses “social science research to do program and policy evaluation, public opinion research and strategic planning,” according to their website (analyticinsight.org).
The draft of the plan will be available to the public to review and send their thoughts on it from it’s issue date to Aug. 22, after the council’s summer hiatus ends. Following this, the results and feedback from the draft will be put on a council agenda and there will be a public meeting, McLean said.
“The plan recognizes that it’s not just homeless providers. It needs to involve the entire community,” Edwards said. “The city has the possibility of being a national model to end homelessness in a suburban community.”
In bringing this community effort together, the hope is that it will help those suffering through different reasons and types of homelessness, McLean said. Moving forward, the community needs to work together to address families living one paycheck away, seniors on fixed incomes facing rising costs and the mentally ill, she added.
“Reading through the draft of the plan, it is very evident that this is not something the city can take on alone,” Smyth said in the news release. “This plan requires buy-in and support from dozens of nonprofits, faith-based organizations, school districts and more.”
The challenge now will be putting the draft into action, Edwards said.