Three Humboldt County homeless assistance programs will receive more than $340,000 this year to provide shelter and services to adults, children and families without regular housing.
The one-year awards are part of $6.6 million in grants from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). HCD's Federal Emergency Shelter Grants (FESG) were recently awarded to 62 nonprofit programs and local governments in California for emergency shelter, transitional housing programs and shelter for victims of domestic violence. Funding for FESG grants comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The local grant recipients are Arcata House, the Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA) and the Women's Crisis Shelter in Southern Humboldt (WISH). All are members of the Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition, a coalition of housing advocates, businesses, funders, elected officials, service and housing providers, faith-based organizations and other community stakeholders working together to identify and address local housing needs. In Humboldt County, it is the lead organization for homeless issues and the federally designated Continuum of Care.
Arcata House is receiving $100,000 to support case management and operations in its transitional housing program. Arcata House, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2011, is open to anyone in need, but priority is given to families with children. The transitional housing program operates
three neighborhood-level houses in Arcata and early this year will open a second unit at one of the sites, bringing the total capacity to 27 beds.
Arcata House clients save money, follow rules and make securing permanent housing their main concern. The program offers intensive case management and linkages to community-based services to 60-75 people each year. In 2011, all of the people who completed the program moved into permanent housing.
According to Arcata House Executive Director Karen “Fox” Olson, “FESG is one of our main sources of primary funding to support this program. It pays the salaries of the case managers and helps with utilities and maintenance on our houses and vehicles, making it possible for us to do our best social work.”
RCAA is being given $111,782 for its Safe Haven and Bridge House transitional shelter programs. Opened in 1986, Bridge House provides transitional housing and comprehensive services to families with children. Safe Haven opened in 1992 as the county's first long-term transitional shelter program for women and children fleeing domestic violence. The programs provide 13 bedrooms combined, with space for 33 beds plus cribs for infants.
”FESG provides core funding for these programs,” said RCAA Director of Family Services Simone Taylor. “An additional case manager and children's case manager will be hired to provide services on-site.”
WISH, a nonprofit, community-based emergency shelter operating in Southern Humboldt, is being awarded $132,000, which it will use for operational expenses such as case management, transportation and housing and shelter operations.
WISH has 13 beds in its shelter and also offers a variable number of rooms through emergency motel vouchers. WISH also provides a 24-hour crisis line and a complete referral service. Last year, WISH assisted more than 170 men, women and children, said WISH Director Mary Balletta.
”Our clients include young mothers and newborn babies, the elderly and victims of domestic violence whose identity we protect. We are often a silent network of safe and open arms,” Balletta said.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development provides leadership, policies and programs to preserve and expand safe and affordable housing opportunities and promote strong communities for all Californians. HCD also supports increasing the supply of housing, especially affordable housing, and works to improve the state's housing conditions and the health and safety of its residents.
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