Council to discuss Measure H spending on homelessness 

Volunteers organize large amounts of donations given to Family Promise a non-profit organization that helps vulnerable individuals and families who are or will experience homelessness. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal
Volunteers organize large amounts of donations given to Family Promise, a nonprofit organization that helps vulnerable individuals and families who are or will experience homelessness. Katherine Quezada/ The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council plans to talk about local spending on homelessness Tuesday — in particular, how it plans to spend a little more than $335,000 from Measure H, a countywide quarter-cent sales tax intended to help those without housing. 

The city staff recommendation on the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting calls for about $309,000 to help Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley with its transitional housing facility in Newhall and nearly $26,000 for a homeless coordinator.  

A Family Promise official expressed gratitude to the city, the county, Williams Homes and HomeAid Los Angeles for support in getting the transitional housing facility built. 

Laurie Ender, a board member for Family Promise and a former council member, called plans for the resource center and about 3,000 square feet of transitional housing on Newhall Avenue “the missing piece in really putting a dent in family homelessness in Santa Clarita.” 

The organization’s goal was to have operations up and running this summer, she added, with Family Promise staff leading a “Frame Walk” of what’s there now open to the public at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission originally approved plans for four 815-square-foot affordable housing units for families in June 2021.  

The idea is to help those who “just need a little time to get their feet on the ground, catch their breath, find a job, find a better job,” Ender said in a phone interview Monday. 

Family homelessness is more widespread than many realize, she added, because the population is not usually as visible on the streets in encampments. It can be parents split up from children who are “couch-surfing” with friends and relatives. 

These members of the “hidden homeless” can often be helped back on their feet by resources they might not even know are out there, Ender said. That’s why the housing is tied to a resource center intended to provide “wrap-around” services, a popular term for help with clients’ physical, emotional and financial well-being. 

The city of Santa Clarita, which also donated the land where the facility is being built at 23652 Newhall Ave., gave about $250,000 from its Measure H contribution to Family Promise in the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. 

City of Santa Clarita officials Monday did not have the revenue figures for what the city sends to Los Angeles County in terms of its local share of the quarter-cent sales tax versus what the city receives. However, the total budgeted for the current fiscal year is just over $266,000. 

City and county officials have estimated anywhere from $6.25 million to $8 million is sent to L.A. County through Measure H, resulting in a return Councilman Bill Miranda referred to as “pennies on the dollar” during last year’s discussion of the annual local apportionment. 

“So, I’m not naive enough to think that Santa Clarita is not going to have to give more than their fair share and get less than their fair share,” Miranda said in a February 2023 interview. “I understand that because I’m not naive. But when the county takes approximately $8 million (a year) from us and gives us back less than $800,000 — something’s wrong. That’s not our fair share.”  

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered an audit of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which administers and distributes funding for homeless services in Los Angeles County, in February. 
“The $25,979 in remaining Measure H funds (for 2024-25) are recommended to be retained by the city for a coordinator,” according to the City Council agenda. “The remaining funding will provide approximately 1,000 hours of staff time for the coordinator, who will help culminate the ‘2022 Community Action Plan to Combat Homelessness,’ and help develop and implement the new ‘2024 Community Action Plan to Combat Homelessness.’” 

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