Help for the disadvantaged: New money coming to assist county homeless, mentally ill | TheUnion.com

Help for the disadvantaged: New money coming to assist county homeless, mentally ill

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

One project has taken months to get off the ground. The other has taken years.

County agencies applied for grant funding to bolster projects that help homeless, mentally ill and low-income individuals. The money has finally been approved.

BRUNSWICK COMMONS HOUSING PROJECT

The California Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the county $1.601 million for Brunswick Commons Housing Project to build 28 housing units for low-income individuals, or those earning 30 percent of Nevada County’s median income.

The county median household income is about $60,000, according to the U.S. Census.

An additional 12 housing units are for the chronically homeless and individuals with severe mental illness.

The county has been working with Hospitality House to acquire the No Place Like Home grant since October, according to Director of Housing and Community Services Mike Dent. In December, the Regional Housing Authority also threw its weight behind the project.

“Nancy Baglietto has done such a great job building relationships,” said Dent, referring to the executive director of Hospitality House.

The county will have site-based vouchers for the new housing units, said Dent. Individuals can be referred to the Regional Housing Authority wait list for the 28 units by local agencies. The 12 units will be administered to people by approval from the Nevada County Behavioral Health Department.

“It’s a need that’s been identified in our community for a long time now,” said Joe Naake, outreach manager for Hospitality House.

Now, the Regional Housing Authority will submit documents to the state to apply for bonds to begin construction for the project, said Dent. If successful, funding could lead to construction beginning in the spring of 2020, and people could move in the following year.

The awarded grant money was unrelated to the $3 million grant the county applied for to go toward a homeless resource center. The county was denied the money in May.

Dent said the county will resubmit a grant proposal for the center in January.

“Our plan is not to give up on it,” he said.

NEW MENTAL HEALTH, HOUSING RESOURCE

Monday will launch the county’s Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement project, according to a press release from the county. The project — consisting of county officials and nonprofits like Hospitality House, Turning Point Community Programs and Advocates for Mentally Ill Housing — received a million dollars per year over five years from the federal and state government, said Brendan Phillips, housing resource manager with the Department of Housing and Community Services.

The money merges two separate grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the state’s Mental Health Services Oversight Accountability Commission, said Phillips.

“The goal of the team is to identify and provide case management and housing support for the most vulnerable,” said Phillips, adding there are anywhere between 118 and 150 chronically homeless people in the county the organization will be trying to help.

Joe Naake said Hospitality House has unofficially been working with these agencies, but the added grant money will allow the new official organization to quickly provide services to the homeless and/or mentally ill population. The Homeless Outreach and Medical Engagement project will meet every morning at 8:30 a.m. to identify the most vulnerable individuals in the county.

Phillips said the new project is a part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s broader agenda to fight homelessness.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.


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