County Applying for $1.9M Federal HUD Grant

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

November 23, 2022

SLO County is applying for a federal Housing and Urban development (HUD) program aimed at fighting homelessness in rural areas.

The $1.69 million grant application is being sent to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its “Continuum of Care Supplemental to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness Grant Program,” according to a County staff report.

The grant program is supposed to address unsheltered and rural homelessness, and is considered a highly competitive grant program.

“HUD,” the report said, “will award funding to selected communities to implement coordinated approaches to reduce the prevalence of unsheltered homelessness, and improve services engagement, health outcomes, and housing stability among highly vulnerable unsheltered individuals and families.”

The grant is “for new projects targeting efforts to reduce unsheltered homelessness.”

The grant is targeting certain types of projects:

• Permanent Housing (PH), including Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) and Rapid Rehousing (RRH);

• Joint Transitional Housing (TH) and Rapid Rehousing (RRH); 

• Supportive Services Only (SSO) – Coordinated Entry; 

• Street Outreach (SSO); and,

• Stand Alone Supportive Services (SSO).

The County Department of Social Services, which is running the grant program and coordinates the County’s homelessness efforts, can keep 3% of the grant for administration costs. The County sought proposals last April form local provider5s and got one application from Community Action Partnerships (CAPSLO) for a street outreach program.

“The proposed project,” the report said, “would create a county-wide collaborative street outreach project with CAPSLO, the 5Cities Homeless Coalition, the El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO), Transitions Mental Health Association (TMHA) and the Salvation Army as participating agencies. The project would fund expansion and coordination of street outreach services.”

It was a long road for the proposal to just make it through SLO County’s bureaucracy.

“Staff from the Department of Social Services reviewed the application and determined it met threshold requirements,” the report said. “A non-conflicted Ad Hoc Grant Review Committee then met on Sept. 14 to discuss the application and recommended the application to the Homeless Services Oversight Council [HSOC].

“HSOC met on Sept. 21 to consider the application and recommendation. The HSOC voted to recommend the Street Outreach Coordination project.”

Under its proposal, CAPSLO proposed to serve 600 “clients” through the outreach at a cost of $1.64 million, and the County planned to carve out $50,900 for “planning.” The total grant amount asked for is some $1.699 million.

If they get the grant, the outreach program would likely start sometime in Summer 2023.

The grant covers three years and the Supervisor’s vote included a provision to automatically approve the second and third years of the grant, without having to go back to Supervisors. The Director of County Social Services would be in charge of the grant monies.

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