Barger introduces motion to ease cities’ process to get funds for homeless

Supervisor Kathryn Barger

Santa Clarita could receive its share of $6 million in Measure H funds, and an easier path to those dollars, if the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approves a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger on Tuesday. 

“I’ll put out a motion, hopefully, next week, with Supervisor (Hilda) Solis, because I’ve been hearing from my communities that they’re very frustrated at how slow it is to get the Measure H dollars,” said Barger, who represents the 5th District that includes the Santa Clarita Valley, during a public joint meeting on Sept. 4 with the Santa Clarita City Council.

She shared that the city could receive an estimated $400,000 in Measure H dollars, the countywide quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in March 2017 to address homelessness. 

To access funding, cities must apply and go through a request for proposal (RFP) process, which is made up of “rigorous review, resubmission and contracting” and has “discouraged” some local jurisdictions from submitting their proposals, according to the motion. 

“Although this process resulted in a high level of engagement from cities, the process presented challenges for smaller cities that lack the capacity and infrastructure to pursue complex grant processes,” the motion reads. 

Barger and Solis’ proposal would ask for a framework to provide $6 million in available Measure H carryover funds from the 2018-19 fiscal year to Councils of Governments, which are associations that represent local governments, to support activities that align with an initiative known as the Homeless Initiative Action Plan to Prevent and Control Homelessness and are consistent with two priority areas in which funds are awarded. 

Barger said Wednesday the plan would “provide the money directly to the Councils of Governments so that they can allocate the funding based on the homeless plans that have come forward by the cities.” 

In November 2017, participating cities received grants to develop city-specific plans to prevent and combat homelessness, in which 41 city plans were financed by an allocation of more than $2 million from the Board of Supervisors, according to the motion. Santa Clarita was among the list of cities that developed a plan and received grant funding, which has resulted in the support for homeless housing and the hiring of a homeless coordinator.

“I know that’ll help the logjam and that will give you more flexibility because, to your point (referring to Councilman Cameron Smyth), what’s happening in Santa Clarita as it relates to how you’re going to deal with the homeless population that you serve is far different than what’s going to happen in the San Gabriel Valley or even the Antelope Valley,” she added.  

Should the motion pass, a framework must be provided to the Board of Supervisors within 45 days of the approval. 

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