In the first weeks of the new year, San Benito and Monterey counties were allotted a cumulative $12.5 million in state emergency funding for homeless services.
The state’s Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council awarded the funds to the counties for a Homeless Emergency Aid Program, or HEAP, which will be divided among different agencies or service providers that apply for funding.
The money will be awarded by the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers, which serves both counties.
Coalition Executive Officer Katherine Thoeni said San Benito County received $1,871,098 and Monterey County received $10,008,889. Thoeni told the Free Lance that programs that will receive funds fall into three categories: service related projects, rental assistance and capital programs.
Among many other uses, the awards will assist in employment programs, rapid rehousing, rent payment, emergency shelters and transitional housing. Ten percent of all available funding must be directed to unaccompanied homeless 18- to 24-year-olds.
Thoeni expected the money to be available in around 60 days.
New Assemblymember Robert Rivas, who represents both San Benito and Monterey counties, released a statement regarding the HEAP funding. “While much difficult work remains to get our homeless residents the help they need, this grant is good news and an important step in the ongoing effort to combat the problem,” said Rivas. “These funds will help our local communities pay for emergency housing, construction of shelters, targeted youth programs and other opportunities for those who so desperately need them.”