County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has pledged to provide county “gap” funding for Bridge to Home to provide year-round homeless shelter services, while also calling upon the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to improve its financial reporting and transparency in the wake of LAHSA’s abrupt cancellation of grant processes for Bridge to Home and five other service providers.
Barger, whose jurisdiction includes the Santa Clarita Valley, said a motion she intends to introduce Jan. 8 would require LAHSA to provide quarterly reports that detail expenditures to date and provide funding availability, including the amount of funds available in each strategy funded by Measure H, the quarter-cent sales tax to combat homelessness.
LAHSA, a joint powers authority between the county and the city of L.A., would also have to provide advance notices of any significant developments and fiscal shifts impacting service contracts, such as the potential cancellation of a request for proposal.
“My motion intends to ensure that LAHSA operates with greater accountability and transparency moving forward,” Barger said in a statement.
This comes after LAHSA’s decision to close the RFP process for interim housing funds of service providers like Bridge to Home, which would have received more than $900,000 to help the nonprofit transition from an emergency shelter to a year-round facility.
Neither the Board of Supervisors nor the service providers were notified of the September RFP process until December, disappointing many SCV officials.
LAHSA officials were unavailable for comment Friday.
Barger also announced Friday that her office will provide full gap funding to help Bridge to Home reach its goal of operating 365 days a year.
“In the interim, I am pleased to immediately provide the full gap funding necessary to ensure that Bridge to Home can deliver year-round shelter and supportive services for our Santa Clarita Valley community,” Barger said in the statement. “I want to thank the city of Santa Clarita and Bridge to Home for their continued partnership in our collective efforts to combat homelessness.”
On Thursday, Mayor Pro Tem Cameron Smyth said he would ask the Santa Clarita City Council to provide bridge funding during at the upcoming regular council meeting on Jan. 8.
He and Mayor Marsha McLean expressed their gratitude to the efforts Barger has made for the SCV, including the new motion.
“Transparency in government is vital and this is one more step in that direction,” said McLean. “I appreciate her efforts in our behalf.”
Michael Foley, executive director of Bridge to Home, added his appreciation on behalf of the nonprofit and said they “look forward to meeting our goal of providing full-service programs to individuals experiencing homelessness all year round.”
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider the motion at its next meeting scheduled for Jan. 8.