CATHEDRAL CITY – The City Council on Wednesday will discuss on which homeless services it wants to spend $51,500 in unallocated general funds.

The question before the City Council is which homeless services will get the money. In his report to staff Police Chief Travis Walker outlined two choices. One of the choices is to use the money to continue its partnership with the Coachella Association of Governments for its CV Housing First Program. Another option is to use the money to offset expenses the city for contract service work necessary to clean trash, debris, and hazardous materials specifically generated by members of the homeless community.

In FY17/18, the City Council allocated $103,000 for homeless services to CVAG for its CV Housing First Program. Half of the funding for this allocation, $51,500, came from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) fund. A matching amount came from the city’s general fund.

Housing First is designed to provide a program that provides a combination of prevention, intervention, and stabilization opportunities for those in homeless situations or at risk of becoming homeless.

Housing First helps with:

  • Short-term financial assistance and connection to resources to help prevent a housing crisis if you are at risk of becoming homeless;
  • Shelter and other emergency housing opportunities if you are currently in a homeless situation;
  • Subsidized housing through the CV Housing First Rapid Re-housing program for qualifying individuals and families.

For FY 18/19, the City Council approved an action plan that allocated $51,500 of CDBG funding for homeless services the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission (CVRM) provided to the city by. The city has yet to decide where to spend the allocated $51,500 of General Funds.

The discussion of which homeless services comes on the heels of the 2019 “Point in Time Count” homelessness assessment. It is a federally-mandated review required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, (HUD), to count and survey the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population in cities and counties throughout the nation.

Riverside County recently released the results of its 2019 “Point in Time Count.” For the last several years, the state of California, including the Coachella Valley, has experienced an ongoing homelessness and housing crisis. The report shows that the number of homeless persons in Riverside County increased 21% compared to 2018. In all, a total of 747 volunteers counted 2,811 individuals who are homeless compared to 2,310 in 2018. (2,045 unsheltered and 766 sheltered).

Image Sources

  • Homeless in Cathedral: Cathedral City Police Department