S.B. Council could approve funding for homeless solutions and housing projects

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IECN Photo/Anthony Victoria: A homeless man laying near the path at Seccombe Lake Park in San Bernardino. The park has served as a "magnet" for displaced residents, raising concerns among residents and leaders.

The San Bernardino City Council could soon approve the funding of two projects that will add to ongoing efforts to address chronic homelessness in the city and spur housing construction.

The Community Development Block Grant ad-hoc committee, comprised of councilmembers Fred Shorett, Henry Nickel, and Bessine Littlefield-Richard, approved recommendations on December 11 to allocate over $3 million of federal funding to support homeless services and the completion of the Arrowhead Grove housing project. Officials could approve the recommendations in full by next January.

According to Economic and Housing Director Kathy Brann, the Step Up on Second nonprofit is slated to receive $205,000 of U.S. Housing and Urban Development money to help support direct intervention and housing services for displaced residents. If the funding is approved by the City Council, Step Up officials will be required to secure housing and services for at-least 20 people in the next year.

“They’re going to be specific to our city and our homeless issue here,” Shorett. “I think it’s good to have them here. [Step Up] is a proven organization.”

About $3.1 million will be given to Arrowhead Grove Mixed-Income Housing Project, which is undergoing its final completion stage. The funding will help to demolish the dilapidating existing structures at Waterman Gardens and construct 183 units, according to Brann.

The biggest concerns with Waterman Gardens in the past is that officials get halfway done with projects and don’t finish them, Shorrett expressed.

“That doesn’t seem to be the case here,” he said.

Brann said the allocation will be a “soft commitment” that will assure they receive roughly $20 million in state cap and trade funding to help complete Arrowhead Grove.

Moving forward, city officials will continue to focus on a strategic plan that will prioritize improving the quality of life for residents and attract economic development.

“We have to prioritize,” Shorett said.

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