Millbrae – County of San Mateo leaders today announced a bold local strategy to reinforce the safety net for the county’s most vulnerable residents: $4 million annually to prevent evictions.
“We will end homelessness in San Mateo County,” Mike Callagy, the County’s chief executive, said to an audience of more 300 at the “Our Year of Working Together to End Homelessness” Summit in Millbrae.
The first-of-its-kind local summit brought together leaders from the County, Peninsula cities, business and nonprofit groups and advocacy organizations to tackle a problem that has vexed officials from Sacramento to Washington, D.C.
“We know that the best way to end homelessness is to prevent homelessness in the first place,” Callagy said. “The County will provide vouchers that will help to keep 100 formerly homeless individuals and families in their permanent homes. It’s the first time that I know of that a county has undertaken a local voucher program like this.”
County Supervisor Dave Pine also announced the Board of Supervisors has allocated an additional $54.6 million to build 1,000 units of affordable housing. This brings the total to $254 million of County funds committed from the local Measure K half-cent sales tax.
“The ultimate goal always is to move our unsheltered residents into permanent and stable housing here in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States,” Pine said.
The summit also provided a snapshot of progress in the County’s stated goal of ending homelessness – that is to provide a shelter bed and support services for all those who seek it.
By the numbers:
- 262: The number of additional unsheltered residents contacted by outreach workers this month compared to October 2021
- 91 percent: The increase in interim shelter beds by 2023 compared to 2019
- 733: The numbe of formerly homeless households moved into permanent housing since October 2021
Callagy also announced the County’s first Navigation Center is set to open in 2023. This will create an additional 240 beds for formerly homeless individuals as they transition into permanent housing.
The Navigation Center, Callagy said, will also provide full-time medical care, thanks in larger part to private donations.
And with a myriad of local, state and federal agencies each involved in some aspect of homelessness and housing policy, Callagy announced that Iliana Rodriguez, a deputy county manager, will lead efforts to end homelessness as the County’s point person.
“Iliana has deep experience in all aspects of social services and policy development as well as an abundance of street smarts,” Callagy said. “She’s the one to get it done.”
About the County of San Mateo Housing Voucher Program
Callagy said the program will launch in 2023 with an initial $4 million already approved by the Board of Supervisors. The funds will fill the gap between rent paid by formerly homeless individuals and families with extremely low incomes and the actual rent to avoid evictions. Funding for the program will be subject to future approvals by the Board of Supervisors.
Homeless in San Mateo County
Attendees discussed the scope of the problem and its impact on individuals, families and the broader community as well as possible solutions. The results of a one-day count in February 2022 of the homeless population in San Mateo Count found that:
- 1,092 individuals were experiencing unsheltered homelessness
- More than half of those – 56 percent – were sleeping in a car or RV
- More than 8 in 10 – 84 percent – were living in San Mateo County when they become homeless
For additional information on homelessness in San Mateo County – and to subscribe to receive updates on important news and events, go to www.smcendinghomelessness.org
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