A report released today by the League of California Cities®
and the California State Association of Counties®
details tools and resources that cities and counties are using to address the needs of homeless residents in their communities. The report is the culmination of more than a year of work by a joint task force formed in the fall of 2016 to examine a wide range of local programs and initiatives that are effectively connecting homeless Californians to services and resources to help them find and remain in permanent housing.
The report, prepared by the Institute for Local Government, offers information and research, case studies of innovative city and county programs addressing homelessness, funding resources and a template that local governments can use to create a homelessness plan.
Over the past decade, California has seen an alarming increase in the number of homeless people. The official count is 134,278, but experts agree the real number is far higher. Cities and counties are at the forefront of responding to this crisis, providing shelter beds and behavioral services, partnering with local nonprofits and faith based groups and working together to help homeless youth, families, seniors and veterans. As the report details, no single local government agency has the resources to solve the homelessness crisis on its own. It is critical for cities and counties to collaborate on programs that help people living on the streets or those vulnerable to homelessness.
Co-chaired by Grass Valley Council Member Jan Arbuckle and Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas, the Joint City County Homelessness Task Force includes elected officials, municipal housing and homelessness leaders and city and county attorneys. The group met several times over the course of 18 months to analyze the issue, collect resources and identify best practices at the local level that can be replicated in other jurisdictions. Task force members examined successful programs in California’s largest cities and smallest communities that address individual needs and connect the state’s homeless residents with the resources and support needed to move off the street into housing.
“California’s homelessness crisis affects cities and counties throughout the state and we can’t begin to address the needs of our homeless residents without resources, best practices and collaboration,” said task force co-chair Jan Arbuckle. “This report represents the cities and counties of California coming together to work proactively on one of our state’s greatest challenges. We can only hope to find solutions that help house and provide services for our homeless residents through a joint effort by cities, counties, the state and federal government. Our task force has documented a range of innovative programs and initiatives that can serve as best practices and be replicated by other cities and counties throughout the state.”
“We knew going into this process that there are many different causes of homelessness, and consequently, there isn’t going to be one single solution,” said task force co-chair and Yolo County Supervisor Oscar Villegas. “Our outreach efforts helped us identify several strategies that local governments are using now to address homelessness and its root causes. This report really serves as a resource — a list of programs and services that are working to help people get off the streets and into housing — and how they can be duplicated, expanded and built upon across the state.”
The League and CSAC will be conducting a webinar March 7 on the report.
The report is available online www.ca-ilg.org/homelessness
Established in 1898, the League of California Cities is a nonprofit statewide association that advocates for cities with the state and federal governments and provides education and training services to elected and appointed city officials.