Bay Area gets millions in emergency coronavirus funding for the homeless
Fulfilling a promise made last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom awarded millions in emergency state funding to help cities and counties around the Bay Area protect their homeless populations from COVID-19.
After pledging $100 million to local jurisdictions, Newsom on Monday evening announced the money has been doled out across the state.
“The fast action by the legislature in approving this funding has been matched by the swift action taken by our Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to get this money out the door and to the local jurisdictions where it’s needed,” Newsom said in a news release. “This is money that will be immediately available to help those who are homeless — among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.”
Bay Area jurisdictions, with their large homeless populations, were some of the biggest recipients. The city of San Jose was awarded $3.9 million, and Oakland and San Francisco got $3.2 million each. Santa Clara County won another $1.7 million, Alameda County $1.4 million, San Francisco County $1.4 million, Contra Costa County $411,485 and San Mateo County $271,096.
Additional awards went out to several local continuums of care — partnerships set up between government bodies and nonprofits to track and fight homelessness. The Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda County group and the San Francisco group won $1.6 million each, and the San Jose, city of Santa Clara and Santa Clara County group won $1.9 million.
The funding amounts were based on each jurisdiction’s homeless population count.
Experts worry the region’s homeless residents are among its most vulnerable to coronavirus, as they may not have adequate access to proper hygiene or space to self-isolate, and they may have underlying medical conditions that could make them more likely to experience extreme symptoms if infected.
The state funding can be used for COVID-19 testing, setting up hand-washing stations at encampments, supporting homeless shelters and acquiring new shelters, and acquiring new temporary housing for people who need to self-isolate.