Aiding Solano’s homeless population

By Geremiah Lago, CONTRIBUTOR

Solano County is in the process of receiving $4.9 million in homeless aid in one-time state money to help homeless families and individuals.

$500 million in one-time funds were included in the California State Budget for 2018-2019. The program is called the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) and is designed to provide direct assistance to cities, counties and address the homelessness crisis throughout California.

In Solano County, the Continuum of Care is called “Housing First Solano.” Housing First Solano will develop a method for homeless providers or developers to apply for the funds. Continuums of Care (CoC) is a regional and local planning bodies that coordinate housing and services funding for homeless families and individuals.

“Through a request for proposals process where proposals are submitted for funding and then a rank and review of each proposal is conducted by a panel,”  said, Debbie Vaughn, principal management analyst for Solano County. “The panel recommends certain proposals for funding. This has not yet occurred so specific uses of the funds are not yet known. The funds must be spent by June 30, 2021 or they will be returned to the State.”

The County is administered by the Board of Supervisors, while seven cities in Solano County each has a city council. The county and cities can work together to identify and support housing or a variety of services for the homeless.

Two of the cities are currently working on creating housing units for the homeless. The County’s Health and Social Services department is working with those cities to provide mental health and other services to individuals ultimately housed in those units.

The City of Fairfield City Council and the County Board of Supervisors have been working together to identify a provider to operate an existing homeless shelter.

Cities and counties have a wide range of services they are mandated to provide. To the extent that they are available resources after providing those required services, they can allocate resources towards homeless efforts.

The Homeless Emergency Aid Program was authorized and signed into law by Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. on June 27, 2018.