New state funding is opening the door to projects addressing the homeless crisis across California. A Wednesday evening community meeting in Seaside will focus on one of those potential projects.
It centers around a county owned modular building 1292 Broadway, right behind Monterey County Department of Social Services Office.
“It used to be a medical clinic, but then the county moved over to the Seaside Family Health Center, and ever since, it's just sat vacant,” says Seaside City Councilman Jon Wizard.
The County has approached the City of Seaside about a partnership to develop the 4000 square foot building for homeless services.
“There is just sort of a general concept that the space could be used as some sort of shelter. Whether it's an emergency shelter, transitional shelter or permanent supportive housing, that's never been part of the discussion. Just that there is a site that could be used,” Wizard says.
“As you might imagine, oftentimes you will have great concern about what a homeless shelter looks like in a community, how it affects a community,” says Wizard.
For people who can’t attend, Wizard welcomes comments by phone, email or social media. He’s @electwizard on Twitter.
If this project moves forward, it could qualify for funding from a new $500-million state grant program created to address California’s homeless crisis. The fund is called the Homeless Emergency Aid Program, or HEAP.
Local projects will compete for roughly $10-million coming to Monterey County. The Coalition of Homeless Services Providers is in charge of allocating those local funds. The agency has put out the call for project proposals, which are due by April 1st.
“This is really about bringing new strategies and new services to the table,” says Katherine Thoeni, Executive Officer of the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers.
Thoeni expects projects will be selected and funded by June.
“It is designed to infuse local communities with money to develop and implement programs that can get people off the street as quickly as possible,” she says.
Santa Cruz County has been allocated roughly $10.5-million in HEAP funding.