Homeless Talk Calendar

Friday, March 24, 2017

No Place Like Home Direct Allocations to Counties

Greetings!

Here is the list of direct allocations expected next year from the $190 million in direct county grants from the No Place Like Home Program (NPLH).  NPLH utilizes state mental health funds to construct permanent housing with supportive services for homeless chronic mentally ill persons.  Sonoma County residents should note that our high numbers place us above many other counties with larger general populations.  Let's make sure that our County and cities collaborate on an application for the additional $1.8 billion which will be available.


NPLH Allocation County Total Population
69,870,183 Los Angeles 9,951,960
13,771,432 San Diego 3,176,138
10,673,299 San Francisco 827,420
10,328,363 Santa Clara 1,836,025
7,014,447 Orange 3,085,355
6,365,524 Alameda 1,553,960
4,880,247 Sonoma 490,596
4,190,374 Sacramento 1,448,053
3,738,333 Riverside 2,264,879
3,637,529 Monterey 426,072
3,387,096 San Bernardino 2,077,453
3,201,240 Contra Costa 1,078,257
3,095,711 Santa Cruz 266,508
2,725,573 Santa Barbara 430,426
2,692,496 San Joaquin 701,151
2,388,511 San Luis Obispo 274,622
2,338,109 San Mateo 738,681
2,298,733 Fresno 947,581
2,234,156 Ventura 834,398
2,219,980 Stanislaus 521,450
2,078,225 Marin 255,841
1,860,867 Humboldt 134,584
1,706,512 Solano 420,335
1,504,905 Kern 855,498
1,493,880 Mendocino 87,373
1,416,702 Merced 261,632
1,027,664 San Benito 56,869
1,004,038 Tulare 451,043
901,659 Butte 221,016
874,883 Imperial 176,768
816,606 Placer 361,420
791,720 Yuba 72,969
786,681 Yolo 203,838
684,322 Shasta 178,368
500,000 El Dorado 180,616
500,000 Madera 152,235
500,000 Kings 151,382
500,000 Napa 138,916
500,000 Nevada 98,267
500,000 Sutter 94,659
500,000 Lake 63,965
500,000 Tehama 63,264
500,000 Tuolumne 54,050
500,000 Calaveras 44,731
500,000 Siskiyou 44,223
500,000 Amador 37,003
500,000 Lassen 33,657
500,000 Del Norte 28,248
500,000 Glenn 27,957
500,000 Colusa 21,355
500,000 Plumas 19,338
500,000 Inyo 18,441
500,000 Mariposa 17,888
500,000 Mono 14,349
500,000 Trinity 13,506
500,000 Modoc 9,346
500,000 Sierra 3,075
500,000 Alpine 1,138
190,000,000 38,000,148

Thursday, March 23, 2017

First Meeting of No Place Like Home Advisory Committee Held

Greetings!

This morning, I listened to the audio broadcast of the initial meeting of California's "No Place Like Home" Advisory Committee.  This is the committee charged with overseeing the implementation of $2 Billion in Prop 63 funds to produce permanent housing throughout the state for chronic mentally ill homeless.

Nine of the 15 members attended the Sacramento meeting, and all began the meeting with powerful personal stories demonstrating the sources of their passion and experience.  Led by the Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, I came away believing these were the best state and local bureaucrats one could assemble to try to make sense of a complex new program. Their lives were all deeply impacted by the issue, and they were now in a position to shape a significant step toward some relief.

After a staff-delivered slide presentation outlining the program design, timeline, and stakeholder concerns, members of the audience and those on the phone were asked to comment.  Topics included: rural county perceptions that they would have difficulty submitting competitive applications; tribal calls to ensure broad collaboration; inquiries on guideline language which seems to exclude at-risk youth; clarification on stakeholder topics raised involving integration requirements, outcome measures, and the definition of At-Risk Chronic Homeless; and a plea to fill the one seat reserved for a user of supportive housing before the next meeting.

On the upside, funds to support county development of improved capability to compete for the funds will be distributed soon.  Less upside, there are still plenty of questions to be raised and answered before the Department can move forward with the issuance of applications for funding.

Here is the link to the Department No Place Like Home webpage, which contains (near the bottom) the materials from the meeting.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Santa Rosa City Council Asks for a Presentation on Housing First on April 4th

Greetings!

Near the beginning of the Santa Rosa City Council meeting last week, they took up a request from Jack Tibbetts to vote to direct the City Manager to  arrange a presentation on Housing First at an upcoming meeting.  Te discussion which followed seemed to make the case that much work needs to be done to build a consensus on both what the City means when it says we're a Housing First City, and what it is we will do.

I have excerpted the discussion, and placed it on YouTube (S.R. Housing First, March 14th), and I invite you to pass on this post and ink to all of those who you believe are interested in what our City is doing to provide housing.

Gregory Fearon

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Housing Fast

The Housing First conversations circulating around town usually begin with one statement.  It’s simple, but not easy.  The simple part is:  If we provide vulnerable, and difficult-to-care homeless with permanent housing and support services until they can afford to pay rent and need reduced services, we will improve our clients’ lives, and save enough money in emergency room, jail, and case management salaries to cover our increased housing and service costs.  Further, we can shift our energies toward early interventions with newly-homeless to prevent their spiraling into vulnerability.
I believe that. 
But I think we under-sell how “not easy” it is.  I have a hard time believing is that we can find the housing stock necessary to place our most vulnerable homeless into permanent supported housing. 
In the past fifty years, Santa Rosa affordable housing developers have produced 5,358 congregate and individual housing units.  They were shelters, transitional housing, permanently-supported, and unsupported housing.  They were designed for, and occupied by residents with extremely low (no more than $16,150/yr), very low ($26,950), low ($43,050), and moderate ($64,680) incomes. They were designed to meet the needs we saw for our low-income residents.  
Ninety-four percent of the permanent housing was aimed at incomes far above those of our homeless population.  If we look at the rental units produced at the income level of extremely low income, there were two built for seniors (with 35 units), and eleven built for families (267 units). These are units which, when vacant, might be available to place Housing First residents.  Additionally, the City is expecting some of these landlords to partner with these efforts, and make more units available.  Many of these same landlords are very concerned about the upcoming rent stabilization and just cause eviction control  election.

If we have any hope of finding apartment owners who can partner with us, we should be looking for those with units having a history of low rents and on the margins of habitability.   The City’s housing, planning, zoning, and several divisions of other departments should work together to identify and approach these landlords.  We have given them housing subsidies in the past, and we have worked with them to upgrade illegal housing conditions.  With rehabilitation loans, and targeted rental subsidies, we can improve our housing and residents at the same time.

Gregory Fearon

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Palms Inn Residents Comments

Adrienne: It’s up to all of us to make it work, because it is about saving peoples lives.
Greg: comments: Palms has almost a year of existence, last Feb.1 the first person was moved in.
Resident meetings are held all the time, people quitting &______________________.
Sybil: came back to mtg, because the last one was a bad one.  She complained that there was a rule against no smoking in room, yet no place to smoke outside without getting wet. No reply to complaint.  Gazebo is being rebuilt.
Judi: resident
Jay: Was in Press Democrat, where is internet connection?
Linda: Need to have a community & don’t need agendas. There is a Resident Advisory Committee.  Let’s not yell at each other.
Marshall: Yesterday's mtg.- complained about lack of internet & wifi.  A resident said he would do the work.
Jay: We have been told that it costs $100,000 to have internet.  Library – He said we are always kicked out for special mtgs.
Time to fish or cut bait.
Danielle: Resident, was told that sheriff has names of all Palms tenants.
Jennilynn: Does not believe so, not that she knows of.
Danielle: People are not happy. One washer and dryer that never works.  Need more than one washer for over 100 people.  New HUD Director - how is the predator in Chief going to effect us here????
Jimmy: Last year 8 residents died; 7 of the 8, it is questioned if they died of depression.  Minimal entertainment is needed. Is there any way to pay for it on scale? Just like rent, a certain % percentage of income.  He pays most rent of everybody. One death per month due to lost hope. Need entertainment. Has asked.
Chris: Beating a dead horse, but need internet to be able to work. Internet is tool that must have to get out of here.
Tim S.: Had to sign a consent.  Hippa violation, HIPPA requires info remain private & guarantees that it will not be shared.
Linda:
Akosh: Desires to answer questions. It has been a year, and he has been here almost daily.
Washers & Dryers: Hired company to put their own washers up, and they can service them.
There is a long-term plan to convert commercial room to laundry room. Now One washer, two dryers.
Adrienne: Timeline? Cable question: Can’t the Palms obtain one main connection, and every room gets feed?
Danielle: Capitalism
Akosh: He tried to get the company to donate, because of expense ($3,000/mo for cable ony.  Have hospitality account- % of income.
Greg: Frustrated, and wants everybody to call cable company.
Jennilynn: Staff has researched, Comcast cannot do it. Now looking for Sonic to provide the service.
Washer and dryer issues have now gone to the Resident Advisory Council, now being refreshed.
Ben Carson had the same concerns about HUD - locally the community embraces this program, and would probably fill in if HUD cuts us off.
Denise: $40/mo. for a box, but declared a residence. Will die if doesn't get entertainment.
Akosh: County zoned as housing.
Nick: Has received two warnings for visitors after 8pm; extenuating circumstances. Is 64 yr old & needs religious support because (scriptures).  Catholic orgs should…
Judy: Washroom - is it possible to make it more accessible?
Jennilynn: May someday be annexed by city.  She is advocating for a crosswalk.
Victoria: Resident Advisory Council guidelines.  Grievance process; how it works.
Bob: Too much riff-raff. He has chased people out at 8pm. Everybody who works leaves.  Not everybody who comes in is either a guest or resident.  Stuff gets stolen.  Resident accosted by visitor.
Jennilyn: Community closes at 8pm.  Decision made at request of community.
Beth: From Georgia, not used to being homeless.  Washes clothes in closet, cannot hang clothes.  Objects to color on walls.  It’s the same as used in mental institutions.  Must use furniture.  Need regular sink, unsanitary.
Danielle: Rent paid for no good sink.
Sybil Ellis: Everybody is bitchin' when should be thankful because before we were living in tents.
Lisa; Need some level of gratification, everything takes time to do.  Need security crews, carpet got stolen from 2nd floor.  Need to welcome dogs, so dog owners know and can adjust.
L :  Safety zone out of control.
Roy: Residents skills should be recognized, and that he is a taxpayer.
Sandy: Agrees w/ Lisa & Sybil.  Doesn’t care about Comcast.  There are rental DVD's.  Catholic Charities called Animal Control, and has puppies removed.
Beth: Housing First, Buckelew, CWC - pay the vet, could do hands on work. I am trying to leave to go to school.
Ken: Possible to have one cable line to office, & have line turned on.  Then that line to Hub to feed to all rooms.  Should be under $5,000.
Jim: Supposed to possibly put in a hotspot for internet access. Concrete block construction makes it difficult for signal to get everywhere.
Judy-Akosh: Can I just get a retractable screen door for air? Just a suggestion.  Need county bus passes, living room never has any.
Linda: Rotate washing days.  Don’t call pound on my dog.  Put community first.
Jim: For a variety of different reasons, a lot of things need delineation.  No personal end of life planning.  Need backup plans to put agreements in place.  Who is next of kin?  Needs to be in writing.  Most of the actions are taken for the benefit of community.  A lot of residents disagree.
Danielle: Bullshit.
Linda: They don't live here.
Jennilynn: Clarified.
Danielle: Fridge, no freezer.  Told about refrigerator problems, now none!  Lost weight, now 103 lbs. Been here 10 months.  Has minibar, some people don’t have fridge.  Ate better as homeless.
Akosh: No freezer, can't eat all foods.
Marshall: Should have direct authority.  One person from Resident Advisory Council should go to staff meetings.  Advisory council failed - checks & balances.  Representative from advisory should be part of staff - to work on Airway drive, then could bring things to attention.
Roy: Authority - equivocal opinion. Rep to staff. this is about poverty.  Offered a good job at $20/hr.  Get employment, jobs, sheltered employment.
Beth: logistics - two people in one room, loves to cook, wants larger fridge to match 2 people in room, large beds for short people, short beds for large people, match rooms with people.
Lisa: How rules are enforced.  Friend's car broke down, so now she is banned from property forever?  Dog issue, Matt slammed door in face.  Her dog went to see, then told Bianca stood and lied, that she saw dog bite someone, then Cindi said none is true.
Anita: Next of kin should be on application form.   Internet - no computers used at home anymore.
Bradley Krause: Cable & telephone. 18 key lines in every room, just needs to be switched on.  Animals - extra fees.  Community at-large controls.  Prostitutes & drugs - told to call police.  Can't leave because when she comes back, something is wrong.  Actions without proper notification - Neighborhood watch.
Adrienne: Grievance procedure.  Tenant advisor.
Victoria: Need vehicle for redress of grievances.
Danielle - People complain to her about things, but people are afraid to complain.  Asked Catholic Charities,  No $. Vatican doesn’t have $?
Marshall: Some things said are clear, and others don’t get the point; Votes for Victoria for President.
Lisa: This is a successful meeting, and it should take place on a monthly basis.
Adrienne: Homeless Action!! is here every third Thursday, and we should see if we can do a letter campaign to Sonic.
Greg: letter campaign to editor of Press Democrat.
Beth: $50/day to clean up around here, because could have paid car insurance, but instead lost her car.  Get a modem through Sprint.
Judy: Worked in corporate America for 33 years, and communication is important. Need follow thru.
Beth: Solution - follow RAC outline from public housing authority.
Jennilynn:  A lot of misconceptions, and need to clear them up before one can jump to a solution.  Need to explain a lot, no suggestions. 
Beth said she did understand.
Danielle: The left-hand doesn't know what the right-hand is doing.
Jim: Not very concrete.
Danielle: You've got to be kidding.
Jim: Is a grievance process re: refrig.  They are smaller because not enough electricity to each room.  Plumbing also limited - infrastructure is not there.
Jennilynn: Needs to research about some things.  A lot of blood, swear and tears, so we must remember what we are here to do.  Nothing is punitive.  Some things are done just to be able to keep doors open due to funding priorities.  Akosh donated refrigerators.  Keep in mind overall project.  Some things in our control, and some things are out of our control.  RAC - not something had to do, but wanted to.  We need more guidance or linkage.  Need communal decisions that everybody can live with.  We need this project to be successful.  Last year, mid-winter tried to get people in fast.  Let’s fix what we can, and also make sure of funding. Danielle has a point.
Jackie: Thanked Jennilynn and everybody.  Type up list, and bring it back next week.  Each week, tackle a couple of topics.
Adrienne: Thanked everybody who came.




Improving Homeless Housing First Efforts


Greetings!
Problems like homelessness have no simple answers.  For decades, we’ve seen poverty and housing costs rise. Wanting to avoid development sprawl, and enjoy a healthy environment, we contained new housing.  And we knew it would result in higher costs, and the poor would suffer.

Eliminating poverty is not a local option.  For many years, I served on the board of directors of the local, federally-funded poverty agency with a mission to end poverty.  The agency has been consumed just aiding our local poor to keep hope and children alive.

Building affordable housing is closer to a local option.  State and local funds, coupled with local zoning and development authority have allowed some reduced price housing to be built.  Federal, state, city and private funds have opened and closed shelters when it got too cold and wet.

So we shouldn’t be surprised by a movement that demands we do a better job of getting our most vulnerable residents into permanent housing without wasting money cycling them through shelters, or trying to change the behaviors mostly brought on by being homeless and poor.

What should surprise us is the ease with which our representatives are moving to end homelessness without asking us to answer the question “What sacrifices are we willing to make?” .

If we can’t make the poor richer, and we’re not willing to dispoil our environment so badly that housing costs drop, then it looks like our only options are to either: 1) squeeze solutions out of housing developers (and all non-poor housing seekers); or 2) squeeze currently-housed residents to provide new taxes to subsidize poor housing development; or both.  

I vote for both, and I think we should have a full community discussion about it.


Putting aside the effort to authorize raising our taxes, here’s my workplan to begin a stronger partnership with shelters and housing developers.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Upcoming Important Meetings & Agenda Topics

Greetings!

Here are the dates and topics of interest to those of us following the ongoing struggle to improve our City's homeless services and housing programs.  All meetings are at 100 Santa Rosa Ave, unless otherwise noted.


February 23rd - Homeless Action meeting at Palms Inn, Resident Council Development

March 6th - Homeless Action Meeting, 1551 Montgomery Drive, 9:30-11am.

March 7th - City Council - Another conversation by the whole Council on their directions, called for by their need to adopt a continuing declaration of an emergency ordinance.

March 8th, S.R. Chamber of Commerce Meeting on Homelessness, Vintners Inn, 7-9am.

March 10th - City Council Goal Setting

Mach 11th, 10-2pm, Homeless Talk Review & Wrapup.  779 Sebastopol Ave.

March 13th - City Council SubCommittee on Homelessness

March 20th - Homeless Action Meeting, 1551 Montgomery Drive, 9:30-11am.

March 25th - "Homes for the Homeless", a film at Congregation Shomrei Torah, 2600 Bennett Valley Rd, 7pm.

March 28th - City Council considering a Joint City/County Task Force on Housing

April 4th - City Council hearing report from the City Subcommittee on Homelessness and monthly declaration of emergency ordinance.

April 20-21st - City Council Goal Setting.

May 7th & May 23rd - City Council Declaration of Emergency Ordinance.