County Nets More Than $9.3 Million for Homeless Services

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By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– San Bernardino County received more than $9.3 million in federal Homeless Assistance Program funds, more than $2.2 million for new projects and more than $7.1 million for renewal projects that will provide services to hundreds of homeless individuals and families within the county.  County agencies are able to use the funds, awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to provide transitional and permanent housing and supportive services for homeless individuals and families.

As part of the more than $7.1 million for renewal projects, the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino was awarded a one-year renewal grant for more than $2.7 million for its various Continuum of Care programs that serve homeless individuals and families with disabilities. The Housing Authority’s affiliate non-profit Knowledge & Education for Your Success, or KEYS, also received $241,021 in renewal funding for housing navigation services to serve homeless families. Combined, both entities received close to $3 million in funding to serve approximately 300 homeless families in San Bernardino County.

“The award of this funding is a testimony to the good work being done by our homeless service providers in San Bernardino County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman, James Ramos, who also serves as Chairman of the Homeless Youth Taskforce. “This funding will help deliver much-needed services to our chronically homeless individuals and families with children.  As a county, we must continue our efforts to support homeless programming and services for our residents most in need of services.”

Part of the $2.2 million for new projects includes a Permanent Supportive Housing Bonus award in the amount of $1.5 million to provide funding for “Step Up in San Bernardino”, a program that will be administered by Step Up on Second, Inc., a non-profit organization that has provided mental health recovery services and support since 1984.  This funding will add an additional, much-needed 112 new permanent supportive housing program beds to serve the chronically homeless with mental illness within our county communities.

“This type of funding is exactly what San Bernardino County needs to continue investing in programs that help homeless individuals reach self-sufficiency. Permanent supportive housing allows us to build stronger communities and address the needs of the most vulnerable amongst us,” said Fifth District Supervisor Josie Gonzales, Chair of the Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“This record level of federal funding for San Bernardino County is testimony to the political and civic will to get the job done for families and individuals,” said Philip Mangano, former head of the White House Interagency Council on Homelessness and advisor to the Board of Supervisors. “The prioritization of housing and supports responsible for reducing homelessness in the county for the past few years indicates a maturing of the county’s response and insures a strategy that is better for the community, the homeless person, and the taxpayer.  A strategic trifecta to reduce the human tragedy and long misery of homelessness.”

The Continuum of Care homeless programs build on the premise that housing and services need to be linked in order to ensure stable housing for this hard to serve population.  Partnering since 1996, the County Department of Behavioral Health refers eligible families to the Housing Authority for the Continuum of Care programs they administer.  The Housing Authority provides rental subsidies and administers the housing assistance.  Behavioral Health provides services ranging from job training, health care, supportive services, and educational services, allowing the tenant an opportunity to obtain economic and social independence, when otherwise, they may still be homeless.

Through KEYS, the housing navigators work directly in reaching out to homeless families, and provide housing navigation, case management, and other supportive service referrals to a variety of other agencies in order to increase economic advancement and long term housing stability.

“The renewal of these grants is critical to continue to provide housing assistance to approximately 300 homeless families.  During these difficult economic times and the increase in demand for affordable housing, we are grateful that through this funding we can continue to serve these families,” said Housing Authority Executive Director Daniel Nackerman.

The award will allow the county’s Homeless Partnership organizations to continue with the measurable progress already made in meeting the recommendations as outlined in the 10-Year Strategy to End Homelessness in the County of San Bernardino.  To find out more about the San Bernardino County Homeless Partnership, please visit the website at: http://www.sbcounty.gov/dbh/sbchp.

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