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Refining Youth Homelessness

The Homeless Children and Youth Act was reintroduced this week in Congress by Stivers and other sponsors, including Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, also a Republican. First proposed in 2014, the bipartisan bill is again dividing advocates for the homeless. Critics say an expanded definition of child and youth homelessness could make tens of thousands more people eligible for federal assistance programs and overwhelm a system that is already underfunded. They want to included the homeless definition for youths that have no permanent home and sleep wherever a friend, contact or family member has space for them too. A HUD report to Congress in 2016, for example, says a point-in-time count showed the nation had 170,820 homeless youths under the age of 25. Data from the Department of Education for the 2014-2015 school year, meanwhile, showed the population of homeless children had soared to 1.2 million. Stivers and others say the change could help to reveal the extent of youth homelessness by counting more of those who live in motels, doubled-up households and other tenuous situations, and who often can’t meet HUD’s strict definition and documentation requirements. Clearing the way for more assistance now can help prevent youths from joining the chronically homeless later, he said. “I don’t think the questions they’re asking are unfair,” Stivers said of those who oppose the expanded definition. “But we can’t let this be a food fight between kids and adults.” Barbara Duffield of SchoolHouse Connection, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, said government badly needs a different and more coordinated approach to helping a population that’s often overlooked. Re-tooling the HUD definition also could give local communities flexibility to better serve homeless youths, she said.

Volunteering @ Project WeHOPE

There’s more than one way to make a difference, and volunteering is a great way to donate your time to helping any number of Project WeHOPE programs. Even Volunteering your skills, from contracting, accounting, to arts and etc. Enquire how you can make a difference and invest your time in your bay area community, sign up to volunteer today ! Volunteer Opportunities

Bay Area Section 8 and Housing Vouchers

Using Section 8 vouchers to help pay rent, is becoming harder when landlords decide to leave the program. The way the Section 8 program works is voucher-holders pay what they can afford about 30 percent of their income and then the voucher pays the rest. The local housing authority, along with landlords, an example would be to decide the fair market rate for three-bedroom was $2,800. A resident would pay $2,500, then the voucher picks up the difference, in this case, the remaining $300. But the thing is, anyone who knows San Francisco real estate knows you can find someone willing to pay more than $2,800 for a three bedroom these days even in a less-fancy neighborhood like The Bayview. Landlords know they can get more from their property, so they quit the program. Because so many other landlords are opting out too, it makes it harder to find places that aren’t full and will take the vouchers. When someone can’t find anyone to take her voucher in San Francisco, they have to transfer their registration to wherever they’ll move. It’s called “porting” it’s a little bureaucratic shuffle that takes about two weeks. But that means that whenever someone on section 8 gets close to landing a place, they’ll have to ask the landlord to wait and that can be problematic with demand for housing. The Section 8 program has never been big enough to subsidize everyone that qualifies to be on it. The program was a good deal for landlords with property in low-rent districts. But in today’s Bay Area housing market, low-rent districts are quickly getting bid up. Eric Johnson, the director of the Oakland Housing Authority, says Section 8 participation in gentrifying neighborhoods has “dropped to nothing.” Those are neighborhoods like The Bayview, or in Johnson’s city Oakland the ones around Lake Merritt. Johnson says housing prices in the Bay Area have escalated so quickly, the vouchers haven’t kept pace. But it’s not just that they’re lagging; the way the federal government calculates fair rental prices is so flawed that in 2015, Oakland’s voucher values actually went down. […]

Santa Clara County prepares for major housing boom

  Home construction along Loma Verde Avenue and West Bayshore Road. Palo Alto Weekly file photo credit. Decisions on where to place Measure A’s low-income and homeless housing funds in county   Santa Clara County is moving quickly on a plan to build thousands of new homes for the county’s low-income and homeless residents. And while most of the county’s new Measure “A” housing bond will go towards helping the lower income residents first, one big question still remains: where’s the space to put all of that housing?At the Feb. 7 Board of Supervisors meeting, county officials revealed the series of objectives that they intend on meeting with the $950 million in bond funds, approved by voters last year. The set of goals laid out major priorities for building new units for people who are homeless or making less than 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) which is roughly $33,500 for a family of four. In the plans the county will set out to build 4,200 units for these extremely low-income renters, said Miguel Marquez, chief operating officer for the county. These units will include a mix of supportive housing designed to help both the chronically homeless and families who are at risk of homelessness but are able to get back on their feet relatively quickly.

New Santa Clara County Ordinance to help Affordable Housing

On February 8th the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance that expands access to affordable housing by requiring that the prospective tenants who receive a housing voucher, subsidy, or other housing assistance be given equal consideration when seeking rental housing in unincorporated Santa Clara County.  The ordinance prohibits landlords from rejecting a prospective tenant solely because he or she would use a voucher or other subsidy to pay rent, and also prohibits landlords from including statements such as “No Section 8 Accepted” in advertisements for rental housing.  The ordinance will take effect in January 2018. “Homelessness and lack of access to affordable housing are a crisis in our county,” said Supervisor Dave Cortese, President of the Board of Supervisors.  “This ordinance helps veterans, homeless families, and other community members use Section 8 vouchers and other subsidies to access the affordable housing they need and deserve.”

The Promise Land Encampment and Designated Homeless Camps

A sanctuary for the homeless in Oakland, complete with a makeshift shower, portable toilet, kitchen, medical supplies and garden, was cleared out of a park February, 2nd by police officers and public works employees. During the encampment’s 12-day existence in the park beneath a highway overpass, “the Village” or also known as the “Promise Land” became an organized community, becoming a rules-based alternative to living on the sidewalk streets. The rules included no drugs, alcohol or violence was tolerated on the premises. Young supporters of the promise land patrolled the park’s perimeter at night as self-designated security guards, while others dropped off food and help build small rainproof shelters out of wooden pallets.

California State Senator Scott Wiener: ‘SF Lost Their Way On Housing’

The topic for years was the city’s housing shortage, and how it was escalating prices. It was amazing to hear the wave of counterproductive, even clueless, solutions that 10 of the 11 supervisors would suggest for the problem. These ranged from decreasing building densities to strengthening bureaucratic review, to placing construction moratoriums on certain neighborhoods, to strengthening tenant protections that are already strict, and that have led landlords to abandon between 10,000 and 30,000 units citywide.

HUD’s progress and the Hopes for the current Administration

Trump’s nominee for HUD secretary, Ben Carson whose single mother relied on public assistance for a time has openly expressed disdain for those who need government support. He thinks it becomes a crutch for generations to depend on assistance. He has suggested that hard work is the only solution for people in need. While he may have a part of a point, and his solution certainly is a part of the equation, it by no means is the only answer.

Rise in deaths of the homeless in Santa Clara County for 2016

123 homeless people have died in Santa Clara County this year, which is the highest figure in at least six years and nearly double last year’s total a staggering statistic. No one understands why because the number of homeless is declining why is the number of deaths rising, the trend is troubling. The spike alerted the attention of Dr. Michelle Jorden of the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner/Coroners Office, who is leading a full comprehensive analysis of the deaths going back to 2011 looking toward finding patterns or trends.

Some Facts About The State of Homelessness in 2016

The US homeless population 2007-2016 (HUD) The positives to take away from the Nation’s Homeless situation in 2016, include a national drop by 15% since 2007, that’s 97,000 fewer Americans living on the streets or in shelters, according to a year-end report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.