The Santa Clarita City Council has endorsed a bill authored by state Sen. Scott Wilk calling for a strategic statewide plan to address homelessness in California.
Senate Bill 792 would require the Homeless Coordinating and Financial Council to work on a strategic plan to address homelessness across the state. This bill includes two plans designed to improve the way the federal Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) implements measures to tackle homelessness and to ensure HUD follows its own rules for those programs.
The council voted unanimously to support the bill Tuesday night during its final meeting of the summer.
Wilk, R-Antelope Valley, and Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, asked state Auditor Elaine Howle to look into the funds going into tackling homelessness in the state, and the programs through which they are applied. After SB 1380 was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and established the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council in 2016, the council itself was not being funded, he said.
“It’s not organized,” Wilk said. “It’s patchwork.”
The two plans regarding HUD have an amended deadline of 2020. The second plan would include establishing a set amount of Continuum of Care areas with the focus on ending homelessness. (https://www.hudexchange.info/programs/coc/)
The federal Continuum of Care Program provides funds for nonprofit organizations, and works with state and local governments to rehouse homeless populations, according to the website.
These plans would help Continuum of Care areas and other homelessness centers to have better access to federal funds. Those funds haven’t been used to their fullest potential in combating the growth of homelessness across the state, Wilk said.
Pushing the deadline from what was originally 2019 to 2020 will give more time to hire staff and be ready to address the status of homelessness in California, said Wilk.
Santa Clarita’s support of SB 792 will reflect the “support (of) legislation, regulatory or administrative efforts that provide additional authority or funding for municipalities to address homeless issues within their communities,” according to the city’s legislative platform.
WIlk said his bill is unrelated to the city of Santa Clarita’s recent adoption of a municipal code amendment designed to restrict “living” in public spaces.
“I’m staying out of the City Council’s business,” he added.
An earlier version of the bill would have created an oversight commission to provide funds for Los Angeles County trauma centers, sending reports to the Legislature regarding the county trauma network. It was amended by the Assembly in May and July 3 to shift its attention toward the strategic plan on homelessness.
The bill is awaiting a hearing in August before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.