PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- - Gov. Gavin Newsom's 2019-2020 state budget reveals Palm Springs is slated to receive a one-time increase of funds in the amount of $10 million dollars for homeless assistance.
According to the city officials, the funds will go toward helping homeless residents in need of shelter, behavioral health assistance, employment opportunities and other services that will help them get back on their feet and off the streets.
"On behalf of our residents, we cannot thank them enough for taking the bold action required to ensure
that Palm Springs will now have the funds necessary to significantly address the needs of our homeless population and create permanent solutions to homelessness," said Palm Springs councilmember Christy Holstege.
The city has developed several new programs and received some additional funding over the past couple of years to address the issue of homelessness. In the last two years, Palm Springs, in partnership with Desert Healthcare District, has allocated over $1.4 million to help with efforts to curb homelessness.
In Feb 2019, the Palm Springs' Affordable Housing and Homelessness Subcommittee revealed nearly 5,000 contacts have been made offering services from the city's homeless outreach programs since 2016. The city's programs has helped nearly 200 people find permanent housing.
The city also opened up several emergency overnight shelters during the summer, as well as other temporary shelters. There is currently no permanent a homeless shelter after Roy's Desert Resource Center closed in 2017 due to funding and location issues.
"This $10 million award to address homelessness in our community is a huge gamechanger for Palm Springs. Our new programs have proven successful, but we need more resources to implement them to help even more people," said Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors.
Despite the city's best efforts, however, the county's annual Point-In-Time homeless count revealed an increase this year. In 2019, there was a total of 196 unsheltered homeless people in Palm Springs, which is up from 126 in 2018.
Homelessness was up 21% across the county, the PIT results revealed.
Kors and Holstege, who help lead the city's homeless subcommittee, worked with Assemblymember Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) to secure the funding. The subcommittee met with Governor and legislators, including State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, in Sacramento to support Mayes' efforts.
"The state's funding formulas often overlook smaller communities like those of the Western Coachella Valley whose homelessness issues are just as severe. By partnering with the State, Palm Springs will now have the tools it needs to address the root causes of homelessness," Mayes said.
The appropriation is expected to reach the Governor's desk by the end of next week.
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