By Eliza PARTIKA
Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced the introduction of a $350 million Encampment Resolution Fund, the first of its kind to assist California cities with the underlying issues causing homeless encampments and help unhoused people get back on their feet.
Newsom emphasized that four years ago no funds were directed specifically for encampments. The funds in the grant will enable 10,000 more people to get back on their feet after living in encampments, said Newsom.
“Subsidized housing, supports – whatever is needed – we leave that to the discretion of cities and counties to determine what’s needed to resolve these underlying issues so we can clean up these encampments,” Newsom said.
All cities, towns, counties and communities of care are encouraged to apply for the grant.
“These resources will provide funds for intentional and very deep engagement and also real and immediate services,” said Megan Marshall, executive officer at the California Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Caltrans will be working with cities that won grants in order to focus on clearing encampments near highways and rehousing the people who live there.
The increase in homelessness funding statewide reflects the rising homeless population. In Glendale, the number of homeless individuals has increased from 169 in 2020 to 195 in the most recent homeless count conducted in January 2023, according to the Glendale 2020 Homeless Count and Survey final report.
As of Nov. 30, charitable organizations throughout Glendale and the Glendale Police Dept. have assisted 691 households facing or currently experiencing homelessness.
A report with details from the Glendale Homeless Count, the result of a partnership between the City of Glendale Continuum of Care (CoC) board of directors, Community Services & Parks Dept., and Homeless Service Providers in Glendale, revealed 42% of the unsheltered people counted were age 55 and older, and 44% identified as Hispanic/Latino. Only 1% of Glendale’s homeless sleep in tents with most choosing benches outdoors on which to sleep. Almost 50 of those counted said they became homeless for the first time in Glendale. From the Glendale Homeless Count, the City and nonprofit organizations in Glendale can determine how to allocate resources to community members most in need.