IVCCC: Contrary to Accusations, HEAP Funds Helping the Homeless
A pair of homeless individuals lay on the grass in Jeff Kissee Park in Brawley, a regular spot for the homeless in the city. The Imperial County Board of Supervisors accepted a $1,028,100 grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development on behalf of the Department of Social Services to be used to prepare, prevent, and respond to coronavirus among individuals or families who are either experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of being homeless. | CORISSA IBARRA PHOTO

$1M-plus Earmarked for Imperial Valley Homeless Problem

More funding is headed to help those facing homelessness in the Imperial Valley.

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to accept $1,028,100 from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. 

“This funding was specifically allocated for the ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) program and it is to be utilized to prepare, prevent and respond to coronavirus among individuals or families who are either experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of being homeless,” said assistant director of social services Paula Llanas. “Specifically, HCD received approximately $42 million in federal funds.

“Specifically, Imperial County’s allocation was a little bit over $1 million. … This funding is designated to support additional homeless assistance and homeless prevention activities to help mitigate the impacts created by coronavirus to our community,” Llanas said.

“Specifically, these funds are earmarked for activities like emergency shelter, homeless prevention, street outreach, rapid rehousing, homeless management information system,” she added. “The funds must be expended by June 30, 2022. We’ve been making all efforts to work expeditiously to get these funds out to the community.”

In anticipation of receiving funds, the county and Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council requested proposals to distribute some of the funding to agencies, she said. Catholic Charities and Spread the Love Charity both applied and will receive $209,000 and $764,000, respectively.

Catholic Charities has said it will use the funding to provide emergency shelter, while Spread the Love Charity has said it will utilize the money for emergency shelter, homeless prevention, street outreach and rapid rehousing, Llanas said. 

“I just want to stress the importance of these funds,” she added. “We are in constant communication with our service providers. Yesterday alone, it’s our understanding, that one of these services providers, Spread the Love, received 300 calls to request service. Primarily the service that’s being requested is assistance with rent.”

Board members were curious how successful the programs have been in preventing homelessness in the Valley.

A report is due to the federal government at the end of the year, and Llanas said she would bring a report to the Board of Supervisors to answer any questions about the strategic plan and how successful outreach has been.

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