MONTEREY COUNTY — Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Nov. 3 that he has rejected all the submitted Homeless Action Plans received by counties, continuums of care and large cities, including Monterey County, and is holding the third round of Homelessness Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funds until he meets with communities later this month.
“Californians demand accountability and results, not settling for the status quo,” Newsom said. “As a state, we are failing to meet the urgency of this moment. Collectively, these plans set a goal to reduce street homelessness 2% statewide by 2024. At this pace, it would take decades to significantly curb homelessness in California — this approach is simply unacceptable. Everyone has to do better — cities, counties, and the state included. We are all in this together.”
The third round of HHAP grants provides a share of $1 billion to every county, continuum of care and the 13 largest cities in the state, on the condition that each local government has a plan approved by the state that reduces the number of unsheltered homeless individuals and increases permanent housing.
The County of Monterey has already allocated the total $3,381,924 to programs that require these funds to sustain or expand much-needed services in the community.
“While I agree with Gov. Newsom that we all can and must do better, including the state, why reject all local plans, even in those counties and cities that are making progress,” said Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, who is also the chair of the Monterey-San Benito County Continuum of Care. “Monterey County has had a reduction in homelessness by 20% and then 15% in the last two Point in Time Counts. We then receive less funding due to that reduction and for making progress. This must change.”
Roxanne Wilson, Monterey County’s homeless services director, said this sweeping decision is particularly hard on communities that have shown substantial decreases in homelessness, like Monterey County.
“The County of Monterey has been aggressive in reducing homelessness for several years. Because of this work, our County has experienced a reduction of homelessness consistently since we peaked in 2017,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to reduce homelessness by 50%, and that is exactly what we are working towards.”
County actions to reduce homeless include: selected as a pilot community for Whole Person Care; heavily investing into the operations of the local continuum of care; aligning County programs with Housing First; sponsoring and adopting the Lead Me Home 5 Year Plan to Reduce Homelessness by 50%; opening the county’s largest housing navigation center in partnership with the City of Salinas; financially supporting Salinas and King City on their Homekey projects; launching the first county-wide mobile case management team; and continuing to invest in Project Roomkey utilizing American Rescue Plan funds.
“The County will continue to advocate for aggressive, meaningful and impactful delivery of services and will work with the State to reconcile any issues they may have with our submission to ensure there will be no gaps in service delivery,” the County of Monterey stated in a news release.