Redwood City – The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday pledged $1 million to keep firearms out of the hands of individuals prohibited from possessing guns, such as owners who are convicted of a violent crime or are subject to a domestic violence or workplace restraining order.
The Board also committed $4 million to support ongoing efforts to end homelessness by the end of the year. The funds will subsidize rent and provide on-site services to ensure that individuals and families with low incomes can remain successfully housed.
Funding for both efforts is from Measure K, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax that provides local funds for local needs.
The local push to fund efforts to remove firearms from those prohibited from possessing them has grown following recent mass shootings in Sacramento and San Jose a recent forum on preventing gun violence.
The forum, hosted by Board President Don Horsley and Vice President Dave Pine in partnership with the Giffords Law Center, drew state Attorney General Rob Bonta and focused on keeping guns out of the hands of individuals subject to domestic violence and other restraining orders or are convicted or pending trial for serious crimes.
“This is a reasonable, and well-supported, safety issue, and I am grateful to my fellow Board members for supporting its funding through Measure K money,” said Horsley.
“Having California Attorney General Rob Bonta in attendance was exceedingly helpful in boosting the profile of the County’s efforts, resulting in the funding and implementation of carefully thought-out remedies for the difficult problems presented by the use of prohibited guns,” Horsley said.
“When someone is convicted of a serious crime or is the subject of certain restraining orders, a series of policies and laws enable law enforcement to ensure that gun owners relinquish their firearms,” Pine said.
“The focus of our recent forum was finding ways to improve that system and this funding will go a long way to make better use of existing tools to keep those guns off the street,” he said.
California has laws on the books that give state and local authorities the legal means to remove firearms from individuals who have lost their ability to legally possess guns due to violent crimes, serious mental illness, active restraining orders and other causes.
“The law is clear that certain individuals have forfeited their rights to own or possess firearms,” said Mike Callagy, the county manager.
“This funding approved by the Board will help our local law enforcement officials enforce those laws in what can be a lengthy and dangerous mission to get the guns out of the hands of these individuals,” he said.
The Board’s 5-0 vote to support funding for getting prohibited guns off the street and to further the goal of ending homelessness came during approval of the budget for Measure K funds for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The $4 million for rental subsidies and support services will help ensure individuals and families most in need can continue to live in affordable housing with the support they need.
“I am proud that our Board has continued the financial assistance for housing vouchers, making it possible for San Mateo County to continue its good work in helping some of the most vulnerable of our residents,” Horsley said.
The rental subsidy program using local funds will be modeled after current state and federal programs that provide the difference between monthly rent and 30 percent of a household’s monthly income.
The $3 million is expected to provide a local rent subsidy for 100 units of housing (at a subsidy of $2,500 per month for 100 units) for one year while $1 million will go toward case management and other services.
The County has set a goal of attaining “functional zero” homelessness by the end of the year. That means homelessness is rare and brief and that anyone who desires shelter can access it.
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