Santa Clarita City Council members approved Tuesday distributing more than $126,000 to six organizations looking to address the local homeless population.
The city received a total of $126,493 from Los Angeles County as part of a 2019 approval for $6 million to distribute to cities to develop creative services or further assist their homelessness goals.
In order to allow multiple agencies to access the funding, the city looked to give local agencies no more than $25,000 via its 2021 Homeless Innovation Fund Grant. A total of 12 proposals from service providers, schools and faith-based organizations, were received and a panel of five city staff selected six for the council’s consideration based on criteria, such as innovative programming, the ability to stretch out funding, services that meet the city’s plan to address homelessness and leveraging of community partners, timeline and program management.
Council members approved the following:
- Bridge to Home: $22,298.60 for a shared-housing pilot program to increase the SCV’s affordable housing stock and to influence local landlord participation.
- College of the Canyons Foundation: $15,000 to hire consultants to research the development of student affordable housing via identifying land use requirements and to conduct outreach. The proposal came as a study found that 10% of COC students reported housing insecurity.
- Salvation Army of Santa Clarita: $22,298.60 to enhance existing direct services to clients by offering laundry vouchers, food pantry services, referrals to health care providers and drug and alcohol recovery centers.
- Santa Clarita Grocery: $22,298.60 to increase food distribution capacity by obtaining new industrial refrigerators to store food for clients. The approval comes as the nonprofit has seen an increase in food insecurity due to COVID-19, city officials reported.
- Single Mothers Outreach: $22,298.60 toward implementing a subsidized housing program, an adult education program and case management services to connect single mothers with affordable housing and jobs.
- William S. Hart Education Foundation: $22,298.60 to direct services for at-risk populations within the district and to purchase a CarePortal membership, which is a platform that connects vulnerable children with the community for requests such as beds, refrigerators and other vital household items. Membership will help school social workers fulfill the needs of children most in need, according to the foundation.
Residents Alan Ferdman and Steve Petzold raised concerns over some of the selections, including for College of the Canyons.
“There are plenty of housing opportunities here within the district without doing a study to determine whether they can build housing on their campuses or at another location,” said Petzold.
“Why in the world would we want to give $15,000 to a group of people to do a study that produces nothing that will help our current homeless situation,” said Ferdman. “I think that’s the big issue. Let’s just give the money to people that are actually helping the homeless, not people that are studying how to do it.”
The issue of housing within community college students is a growing concern not just in the SCV but across the state, according to councilman and homeless task force chair Cameron Smyth, adding that the “$15,000 there, I think, is appropriate.”
WebsiteAlso on Tuesday, Councilwoman Marsha McLean announced that the homeless task force has launched its official website, santaclaritahomelessaction.org, which serves as a hub for updates on the group’s initiatives, resources for the homeless and how the community can help.