Bay Area gets mil­lions in emer­gency coro­n­avirus fund­ing for the home­less

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - NEWS - By Marisa Ken­dall

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.

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