GRASS VALLEY, Calif. January 13, 2020 – Today, Governor Gavin Newsom kicked off a week-long homelessness tour on the heels of releasing the 2020-21 State Budget proposal last Friday. The proposed budget includes more than $1 billion to tackle homelessness. Nevada County’s HOME Team program caught the Governor’s attention to the point that he decided to begin his tour in Grass Valley.
First stop was the Spirit Peer Empowerment Center where he met with clients and staff. The Governor was welcomed by Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout and Councilmember Jan Arbuckle. Both had emphasized homelessness as a major issue at a previous meeting in Grass Valley. Nevada County Behavioral Health Director Phebe Bell was in attendance, representing Nevada County’s HOME Team.
Nevada County’s HOME Team addresses physical health needs first as well as low-barrier housing. The County launched the HOME Team in partnership with Hospitality House, Turning Point Community Programs and AMI Housing in June 2019 after the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) approved Nevada County Behavioral Health’s Innovation proposal in March.
Sheriff Shannan Moon testified during the March commission hearing and stated: “Our Sheriff’s Deputies and Correctional Officers in Nevada County see firsthand the people with mental illness and substance use disorder who have become homeless and often are cycling in and out of the criminal justice system. This project will provide an opportunity for service providers to create the trust needed to engage these individuals with much needed treatment and services. Additionally, this project aligns with our County’s Stepping Up Initiative to lower the number of individuals suffering from mental illness in our jail. The HOME team will collaborate to improve the warm handoff and supportive services available to those who would otherwise exit our County jail into homelessness.”
Since the HOME Team began less than a year ago, the team has engaged 149 individuals, provided case management and service linkages to 78 individuals, and conducted 64 behavioral health assessments.
When asked why he is highlighting the HOME Team as a model, Governor Newsom replied, “They have a plan. They have County Supervisors here, City administrators here, you have assembly members here. No one has an ‘R’, no one has a ‘D.’ No one’s ‘red’, no one’s ‘blue.’ Not one utterance of politics. You find those conditions, that’s special. That’s what we want to see everywhere in the State.”
At Hospitality House, the Governor and Assemblymember Megan Dahle (R-Bieber) met with county staff and District 1 Supervisor Heidi Hall to receive a briefing on the challenges faced by Nevada County. “The innovative collaboration of the HOME Team is a real point of pride for Nevada County. It was an honor to share the work and commitment of our community partners,” said District I Supervisor Heidi Hall. “Learning directly from the Governor about next steps at the state level was important for everyone in the room, and Nevada County had the opportunity to speak directly with the Governor about issues specific to rural communities like ours.”
During his press conference, Newsom highlighted once again the community aspect of Nevada County’s solutions. Hospitality House Executive Director Nancy Baglietto shared the shelter’s newest program where people with pets are being welcomed indoors and receiving help together. “I love that you are working and understanding in this space and meeting people where they are. Fundamentally, getting people indoors is that first point of processing. Then they can determine for themselves, when they are ready, to take advantage of these programs,” Newsom replied. “In the past, when you had a dog, you were told ‘we don’t take dogs.’ or if you had a partner, ‘we don’t take partners.’ All these things are hurdles and barriers to solving problems… It is such a wonderful thing you told me you have this program, I’m so glad we are here.”
Baglietto didn’t miss a beat as she replied, “In the continuum of care, that’s what we are trying to do. Meet people where they are, bringing them from the streets in the shelter, moving them upstairs in our longer term dorm, where people can get wrap-around services and help in finding housing.” She added, “Now, we just need the housing.”
Newsom agreed and repeated one of his mantras, “Shelters solve sleep, housing and supporting services solve homelessness.”
In his State Budget proposal released Friday, the Governor formally announced more than $1 billion in homeless response funding, including $750 million for this new Access to Housing and Services Fund, and a major new investment to reform Medi-Cal so that health providers transform health care to deliver integrated physical and behavioral health.
Last year, the Governor signed 13 bills into law to help confront the homelessness crisis and others to fuel new housing development. In September, the Governor called on the Trump administration to increase federal investments in housing options for people experiencing homelessness and requested 50,000 additional Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. In July, Governor Newsom announced regional leaders and statewide experts who will advise his Administration on solutions to address the state’s homelessness epidemic.
Governor Newsom has also released the full $650 million in State Emergency Homeless Aid and issued a challenge for cities and counties to partner with the state on immediate impact solutions to tackle homelessness.
The Governor will continue his tour throughout the week with stops in the Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, Central Valley and the Bay Area.
Contact the HOME Team
Residents can contact the HOME team to express concern for someone they think may need help or services, or those who are experiencing homeless and are looking to connect with services themselves, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. by calling (530) 470-2686 or emailing [email protected].
Better Together Nevada County
Better Together Nevada County is an overall strategy spearheaded by County of Nevada to support innovative and meaningful collaboration with key stakeholders, while educating the public, and inviting them to be part of the solution. It is a reflection of the Board of Supervisors priority to create partnerships with community providers and other jurisdictions, in order to build an expanded system of coordinated care, outreach, transitional and permanent housing, and supportive services to address the needs of the homeless population and to mitigate impacts on the community.