On Sept. 9, the Calaveras County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), in collaboration with multiple partners, is holding a community meeting to discuss current efforts to help county residents that lack stable housing. The meeting will be held 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at San Andreas Elementary School.

The Calaveras County Homeless Task Force has been working to identify local needs and determine strategies to help community members who lack stable housing move toward self-sufficiency. The task force was created in May of 2018 from multiple agencies and community members to address the issue of stable housing.

According to the 2019 Point in Time count, which measures the number of people experiencing homelessness during a one-week period in January, there are currently about 186 individuals in Calaveras County experiencing homelessness. This equals about 0.4% of the county’s population and is slightly above the state average.

Last year, Calaveras County successfully competed in the first of four rounds of state funding for the No Place Like Home (NPLH) Program, which was enacted in 2016 and provides $2 billion in bonds across the state to aid in the development of permanent supportive housing for people with severe mental illness who are homeless or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

The NPLH bonds will be repaid over a period of several decades, with interest, with revenue from Proposition 63.

Proposition 63, also known as the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), was passed in 2004, and imposed an additional 1% income tax on personal incomes in excess of $1 million in order to fund mental health programs across the state.

In 2018, California voters passed Proposition 2, which enabled MHSA funds to be used for homelessness prevention housing for those in need of mental health services.

The county’s NPLH funding is being used to construct five housing units in San Andreas for Calaveras County residents that lack stable housing and are engaged in their recovery plans. A minimum of two of the units will be dedicated to families with children.

The developer and property manager of the new units will be the Stanislaus Regional Housing Authority (SRHA), a nonprofit, public corporation designated by the state to address the housing needs of communities in Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Inyo, Mariposa, Mono, Stanislaus and Tuolumne counties. The SRHA also administers the Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly known as Section 8).

The HHSA Behavioral Health Division will provide around-the-clock supportive services for residents of the county’s NPLH units. Among these services will be mental health crisis intervention, therapy (individual and group), medication treatment, substance use disorder treatment, supportive employment and ongoing tenant education.

Other county efforts to address homelessness include the scattered site emergency shelter pilot project, which aims to build several mobile tiny-house shelters in West Point and San Andreas, and provide intensive case management for residents temporarily placed in the units; and the Vision House in Murphys, which offers transitional living opportunities for individuals with severe mental illness that are engaged in their recovery plans and are on the path to permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

The county is currently preparing for the next round of NPLH funding, which it plans to use for a 16-unit development in Valley Springs that will also serve veterans.

At the Sept. 9 meeting, the HHSA and various partners will answer questions about the NPLH Program and discuss other efforts to help those in the community who lack stable housing.

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Reporter

Noah Berner has lived in Calaveras County most of his life, and graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in history.

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