by Carol Leish, MA
“The Ventura County Continuum of Care (VC CoC) Alliance meetings are held quarterly to update our community about new programs, initiatives and/or grant funding opportunities focused on preventing and ending homelessness in Ventura County,” according to Jennifer Harkey, MPA, Program Management Analyst for the Ventura County Executive Office. “The April 21, 2022 meeting was held remotely on Zoom. All of our meeting dates/times/locations/links are posted on the VC CoC website calendar at: www.venturacoc.org.”
“The focus of the April 21, 2022 meeting was on three areas: 1) Rising rent costs in Ventura County; 2) New State grant funding through the Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) Programs; and, 3) A New State initiative with the Housing & Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP).”
Maria Navarro, VC Policy Advocate, CAUSE(Central Coast Alliance United for A Sustainable Economy) : email@example.com discussed, “There is the need for community advocacy in order to put caps on the rising rents within the local jurisdictions by Ventura passing a tenant protection ordinance.” She also recommended that, “Stronger relocation assistance is important. And, having it be permanent is important, too. With the City of Ventura adopting a simple short-term interim ordinance, it would give tenants relief while the City Council has time to deliberate on how best to design long-term protections.”
Alicia Morales-McKinney, LCSW, Management Analyst at the Ventura County Executive Office: Alicia.Morales-McKinney@ventura.org focused on the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) Program Round 3. “The Eligible Activities included: 1) Rapid Rehousing; 2) Operating subsidies; 3) Street outreach; and 4) Services coordination. The remainder of the Eligible Activities included: 4) Delivery of permanent housing; 5) Prevention and shelter diversion; 6) Interim sheltering (new and existing); and, 7) Shelter improvements to lower barriers and increase privacy.” She also asked for public attendees to complete the surveys included in her presentation in order to identify HHAP Round 3 funding priorities and outcome goals.
The Housing and Homeless Incentive Program was the focus of the talk by David Tovar, Senior Policy Analyst at Gold Coast Health Plan (GCHP): firstname.lastname@example.org. He requested partnerships with local service providers in supportive housing, recuperative care programs and street medicine staff to improve health care service to those who are unsheltered. He said that this is possible by “Improving health outcomes and access to whole person care services by addressing housing insecurity & instability as a social determinant of health for the Med-Cal populations. Also, by ensuring that GCHP has the necessary capacity and partnerships to connect members to needed housing services. And, by reducing and preventing homelessness.”
The approach emphasizes, according to Tovar, “Providing rapid rehousing for Medi-Cal families and youth, and interim housing for aging and disabled populations. Improving access to coordinated housing, health and other social services is also important. This will reduce avoidable use of costly health care services. It will improve whole person health for Medi-Cal enrollees, including behavioral health treatment and resources. This will enable implementing solutions that manage information to better identify populations of focus and member needs.”
Harkey summarized by saying, “The VC CoC is working with each of these programs and initiative to improve affordable housing options, increase supportive service, provide emergency shelter, as well as prevent and end homelessness in Ventura County. An April 27th meeting determined the Round 3 funding priority recommendations before reviewing and approving it on May 11, 2022 occurs. Gold Coast Health Plan is working with the State on Implementing the Incentive program in Ventura County this year.”