Opinion - Following record count of homeless in Sacramento region, form JPA to address situation

Special to Elk Grove News from Region Business

Yesterday, Sacramento Steps Forward, released its Point-in-Time count for the number of homeless in Sacramento County. This federally mandated count announced the highest ever recorded number of homeless in Sacramento County.

We refuse to accept this failure of leadership as the new normal! 

The Sacramento regional business community is appalled at the 52-percent increase in homelessness in Sacramento and the silence from elected officials across Sacramento County. These numbers represent an unmitigated failure and disappointing lack of leadership in adequately addressing homelessness. To be clear, the current system, organizations, and policies in place have failed! It is shameful!

The business community is committed to being part of the solution. But, it is time for a new strategy:

Establish a Regional Joint Powers Authority - It is time that our elected leaders throughout the six-County region stop hiding and form a regional joint powers authority to address homelessness. This means setting aside turf wars and jurisdictional disputes. This is a structure that has been adopted in other regions to address homelessness and accounts for the fact that the homeless population is a transient group of individuals.

Merge and Restructure our 5 Regional Continuum's of Cares (CoC's) - Sacramento Steps Forward and the other Continuum's of Cares in the region need to be merged so that we can adequately coordinate with the proposed regional joint powers authority to address homelessness. Additionally, this organization will need to reform their funding structure to become a Unified Funding Agency. This will give them a better ability to maximize resources and become a higher priority for federal funding. 

Remove the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency's Affordable Housing Functions - Sacramento City has become an epicenter and magnet for homelessness which has negatively affected the rest of the region. Much of this is due to the lack of affordable housing being built. Affordable housing developers know to avoid building in SHRA territory because of its burdensome process with high fees. We can no longer afford to have a housing agency that is ineffective and punitive. SHRA must be held accountable for its appalling results and should immediately be removed from the equation. When it comes to figuring out how to finance affordable housing in our region, they have proved time and time again to be a negative impact on building more units.

Copyright by Region Business © 2019. All right reserved.


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