County seeks public input to help local homeless

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COUNTY —The County of San Luis Obispo expects to receive over $5.5 million of grant funding under two new state programs that aim to assist persons who are at risk of or are currently experiencing homelessness: the California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH) program and the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP). Between the two programs, funding can be used to support a variety of activities that will benefit homeless services and housing projects, with $727,000 allocated from the CESH program and $4.8 million allocated under HEAP.
To help identify the best uses for the one-time-only funds, the County is launching a public participation process this month that will inform planning efforts for the implementation of CESH and HEAP, as well as updates to several planning documents in the coming year.
Public participation will be key to this process and input collected will provide the County with valuable direction. The County will host two stakeholder meetings targeting local homeless-service providers and housing developers, and two open public forums, where any interested members of the community may express their concerns and comments regarding the needs of homeless individuals and families in the county. County staff will summarize the input collected from each event and present it to the Homeless Services Oversight Council (HSOC), which will then facilitate a discussion on prioritizing the most pressing needs.
In the North County, the public forum will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Polin Community Room of the Atascadero Library. Located at  6555 Capistrano Ave. in Atascadero. If you are unable to attend you can participate via an online survey at https://goo.gl/forms/CMAdOTOx19b9IJl12
Once the County has been awarded funding from the CESH and HEAP programs, it will release a local Request for Proposals. A non-conflicted ad-hoc grant review committee will be assembled to review proposals and select recommended projects to be funded by the CESH and HEAP programs. The committee will then present their recommendations to the HSOC at a public meeting. Following the HSOC’s approval of the recommendations, they will then be presented to the Board of Supervisors, who will make the final determination as to what programs and activities will be funded.  The County will track outcomes for funded projects and will report back to the State on the results.
To learn more about the CESH grant, visit the State’s Housing and Community Development at www.hcd.ca.gov. For additional information about the HEAP, visit the State’s Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency at www.bcsh.ca.gov.
If you are unable to attend a public forum or would like to provide additional comments, please take the anonymous survey (https://goo.gl/forms/CMAdOTOx19b9IJl12).
For questions about the meeting or survey, contact Allison Rustick via email at [email protected] or call 805-781-1141.

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