Jessica Cejnar / Monday, Oct. 7, 2019 @ 4:02 p.m. / Community, Homelessness, Local Government

County Supervisors To Weigh In On Homeless Analysis


County supervisors on Tuesday will hold their first public discussion on an analysis of Del Norte’s challenges with housing and homelessness.

Along with discussing the analysis, prepared by Chico-based Housing Tools, the Board of Supervisors will weigh in on forming a homeless coalition of interested community groups, according to the county’s staff report. Supervisors will also weigh in on county staff seeking someone to develop a permanent supportive housing program in Del Norte.

Del Norte County hired Housing Tools with a $75,000 technical assistance loan from the No Place Like Home program.

No Place Like Home is a bond initiative former California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law in 2016, District 2 Supervisor Lori Cowan told the Wild Rivers Outpost in August. Those dollars can only be used to help those who are chronically mentally ill and chronically homeless and only for brick and mortar programs, according to Cowan.

On Tuesday, supervisors are also expected to weigh in on a contract with the Shasta County Department of Housing and Community Action Programs on the use of $361,706.33 in Homeless Emergency Aid Program, or HEAP, dollars.

Housing Tools’ analysis noted that volunteers and county staff surveyed 189 individuals who identified as homeless during Del Norte County’s Point in Time Survey on Jan. 22, 2019. This has steadily increased from 115 individuals counted in 2016 to 158 counted in 2017 and 127 in 2018, according to the analysis.

The analysis noted that women in Del Norte County are disproportionately affected by homelessness compared to national trends. Seventy-five percent of the 189 individuals surveyed indicated they were unsheltered. Of 182 individuals who reported their felony status, 50 people, or 27 percent, stated they had a felony.

The analysis also gaged the community’s perceptions when it comes to homelessness, with 89 percent of those surveyed stating that people experiencing homelessness in Del Norte was increasing.

Finally, Housing Tools’ analysis included descriptions of permanent supportive housing models that may work for Del Norte. The models include new construction for a development that provides housing to residents with a mix of incomes with higher rents subsidizing lower rents. Another possibility is a permanent supportive housing model that serves homeless individuals with disabilities and homeless veterans. This model would be based on a voucher system.

Housing Tools’ analysis also comes with a list of potential sites for a permanent supportive housing program.

Tuesday’s presentation on Housing Tools’ analysis and the potential discussion about the HEAP allocation comes amid a larger community conversation on homelessness.

Cowan, District 4 Supervisor Gerry Hemmingsen, DHHS Director Heather Snow, County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina and Administrative Analyst Toni Self sit on a working group focused created by State Sen. Mike McGuire that’s focused on the issue. Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore, City Manager Eric Wier, Housing Authority Director Megan Miller and city finance director, Linda Leaver, also sit on the working group, according to Cowan.

On Aug. 27, supervisors heard a presentation from Medford-based Rogue Retreat on its Hope Village program, a model that uses case management and tiny homes to help people transition into permanent housing. The Crescent City Council is expected to hear from Rogue Retreat tonight.

On Sept. 18, county supervisors and Crescent City Councilors voted to support efforts to get the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Martin v. Boise. Both governing boards agreed to join other California jurisdictions in sponsoring an amicus brief in support of Boise’s petition to the Supreme Court.

The sponsorship comes at the request of Bay Area-based Renne Law Group, which is asked agencies to pledge an amount “not to exceed $5,000” in support of the amicus brief.

In its September 2018 decision, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that enforcing a statute prohibiting homeless people from sleeping on public property when no alternative shelter was available violated the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meets at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Flynn Administrative Center, 981 H Street in Crescent City. For agendas and staff reports, visit http://agendas.dnco.org/.


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