Special Federal Homeless Effort Coming to California

English: A homeless man in New York with the A...

A homeless man in New York with the American flag in the background. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the California Housing Finance Agency the number of homeless in California is almost equal to the number of people that live in the Central Valley city if Visalia.

To anyone who is paying attention, the number of people living on the streets has gotten out of hand. Their already sizable numbers have been swelled by victims of the housing implosion and the economic downturn. More faces every day join the ranks of those sleeping under bridges, in tents and worse.

Now some federal assistance is on the way. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has chosen six states across the union to participate in their new “Policy Academy” program to help combat homelessness.

The Central Valley Business Times brings us some details about the program:

As part of the Policy Academy, California will receive technical assistance to reduce chronic homelessness. About one of every 280 Californians is homeless, according to an annual report to Congress.

“We must push forward with aggressive, forward-looking, coordinated programs to fight homelessness in the state and the country,” says Ms. Cappio. “We cannot look the other way. It affects so many of our most vulnerable residents.”

The Policy Academy will include a comparison with other programs and practices that have worked across the nation. The effort is intended to reduce fragmentation, increase community education and leadership, and provide a framework to best use available resources.

The approach seems laudable. The Policy Academy will focus on identifying how programs across the state and federal levels can be coordinated into a multidisciplinary assault on homelessness.

Various programs already exist, but they operate independently creating a scatter-shot approach to the issue. The Policy Academy will, if things go according to plan, allow efforts like the Affordable Care Act, CalFresh, CalWORKs and Medi-Cal funds to make more of an impact by working in a synergistic fashion.

The range of agencies runs from non-profits to law enforcement, including:

  • Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission
  • Department of State Hospitals
  • Department of Alcohol & Drug Programs
  • Department of Health Care Services
  • Health & Human Services Agency

We have often pointed out the complexity of these issues, and the need for coordinated, cross-disciplinary action. Let us hope that this is a step forward in that regard.

 

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One comment

  1. [...] were homeless.  It looks like California is getting more engaged in homelessness (see this), which I can appreciate.  So is San Diego, specifically, with a pretty innovative concept (here). [...]

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