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County creates grant program for homeless shelters


County supervisors on Tuesday outlined how cities can apply for a $10 million grant program to fund shelters and approved using about $13 million in state funds to house homeless youths and open harm-reduction shelters.

The board, with Supervisor Joel Anderson absent, voted 4-0 to approve the grant program and distribution of $12.8 million in state Homeless, Housing, Assistance and Prevention funds.

The grant program is part of an effort to create more shelters throughout the county while also expanding the types of shelters available. The county will send notifications to all 18 local cities with the offer to fund new shelters, safe parking lots, safe camping sites and emergency cabins or tiny homes.

Priority will be given to projects with the earliest operational dates and will be evaluated based on readiness, support from local city councils, need and sustainability, meaning cities must demonstrate the shelter can operate for at least two years.

Guidelines approved by supervisors also call for strong local support for the city’s shelter plan to avoid barriers from the community.

Supervisors also approved using HHAP funds for Housing Our Youth, Community Harm Reduction teams and a Community Harm Reduction safe haven.

Housing Our Youth is a youth-centered program that provides young homeless people with housing and wrap-around services. The program has served 267 youths and young adults and housed 108 people as of March, exceeding its two year goal in just over a year.

The county’s Community Harm Reduction teams, known as C-HRT, were launched last December and include outreach and engagement in the Midway and East Village areas with homeless people who have substance use conditions and mental health issues.

The C-HRT safe haven will provide transitional housing designed around harm-reduction principles such as lowest barrier accessibility, variable lengths of stay and navigation to permanent housing.

The safe haven will be a collaborate effort with the city of San Diego, and a site for the property is expected to be announced soon.

The $12.8 million in allocations includes $2.6 million already allocated in February.

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