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County Supervisors OK flexible funds housing program

Posted at 5:42 PM, Nov 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 20:42:21-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a program that will give the county more flexibility to help people from slipping into homelessness.

The Flexible Funds for Housing Program will ``give us the latitude to leverage existing state, federal and private resources to help tackle housing instability in our region,'' said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who sponsored the proposal.

According to Fletcher's office, the program will assist homeless individuals, veterans and seniors on fixed incomes with gap funding for direct rental assistance and other related expenses, which will allow people a way to find permanent housing quickly and without barriers.

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Program money could come from many different sources, including government funds, private or philanthropic, Fletcher said. The board also wants to see alternatives, including a feasibility study on a flexible housing subsidy pool.

Helen Robbins-Meyer, the county's chief administrative officer, will return to the board by January with additional options. Fletcher's colleagues were supportive of the proposal. Supervisor Jim Desmond said it was important to explore the pros and cons of the program.

Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said residents unincorporated areas are included in any program. Jacob added she's heard from mobile homeowners who are worried about losing their spots to rent increases.

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"Just that little bit extra could make the difference,'' Jacob said. Supervisor Kristin Gaspar said while she's not opposed to a "housing first'' approach, federal and state regulations are a concern. Gaspar also said behavioral health elements might also be part of a flexible funds program.

Before voting, supervisors heard from county residents in favor of the program, some of whom who shared their own stories of economic hardship.