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Teresa Aguila, of San Bernardino County Transitional Assistance Department, center, gathers information from Corneliu Ladu, 68, who is experiencing unsheltered homelessness, right, as San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, left, looks on during the San Bernardino County’s 2023 Point-in-Time homeless count in downtown San Bernardino on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
Teresa Aguila, of San Bernardino County Transitional Assistance Department, center, gathers information from Corneliu Ladu, 68, who is experiencing unsheltered homelessness, right, as San Bernardino Mayor Helen Tran, left, looks on during the San Bernardino County’s 2023 Point-in-Time homeless count in downtown San Bernardino on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (File photo by Watchara Phomicinda, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)
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San Bernardino County will spend $72.7 million in federal, state and local funds to address homelessness countywide.

Last month, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve the county’s ‘s provisions aimed at increasing the supply of housing for at-risk groups or those already experiencing homelessness.

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The funding will go to six initiatives:

    • Pacific Village Phase II Expansion: $29.7 million in state and federal funds
    • Kern Street Adult Residential Facility Expansion: $2.5 million in state funds
    • Project Roomkey Continuance: $4.4 million in federal and state funds
    • Social Work Action Group (SWAG): $3.4 million in federal funds
    • County Housing Development Grant: $20 million in county and federal funds
    • HOME-ARP: $12.7 million in federal funds

According to the staff report provided to board members at their March 28 meeting, the that can be tailored, when needed, to meet needs of residents who require special behavioral health care. The expansion will dramatically increase the number of people served by Pacific Village, up from 28 residents to about 726 people each year.

The Kern Street Adult Residential Facility expansion will convert an existing adult residential facility in Muscoy into a supervised 30-bed facility where people with chronic behavioral health care needs can receive assistance.

During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the state-funded Project Roomkey temporarily turned hotel and motel rooms into housing for the homeless. The funding was due to run out on March 31, potentially sending older people and those with high medical risks back onto the streets. The funding approved by the board March 28 will continue to provide funding for up to 90 beds through Project Roomkey, covering food, laundry services and security while the county works to find permanent housing for the people using the program.

The Social Work Action Group (SWAG) connects with homeless people on the street, guiding them to services and housing, working in cooperation with a number of county programs. In the staff report, the county credits SWAG with connecting with 165 homeless people since December 2021, getting 63 of those people into shelters. At the March 28 meeting, the board voted to extend SWAG’s contract for 24 months.

“It’s very, very important to continue to have folks out there in touch with the community, in touch with our homeless population,” Fifth District Supervisor Joe Baca Jr. said at the meeting.

The County Housing Development Grant will likely be used to set up a program to distribute $20 million in grants to third parties, typically cities in the county, to support their homeless housing projects, emphasizing the building of new units. The program is under development, according to the staff report, and details of the program and possible adjustments to the budget, will be coming before the Board of Supervisors in the future.

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Home Investment Partnerships-American Rescue Plan (HOME-ARP) program provides a one-time grant of $12.7 million to assist local residents who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, fleeing domestic violence or likely to face housing instability. The funds can be used for affordable rent programs, shelters, support services, rental assistance and program administration costs.

According to the 2022 point-in-time count, there were 3,333 homeless residents in San Bernardino County in February 2022, a jump of 208 people since the last count in January 2020.

After the count, and its 6.6% rise in the homeless population in the county, the county adopted a new plan in June for lowering homelessness, including benchmarks to measure the success of individual efforts.

The results of the 2023 point-in-time count, which was conducted in January, will be released later this year.

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