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Council Approves Funds for Homeless Housing

The City of Visalia is nearing closeout of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP1) grant. With this on the horizon, the Housing Division, under the City's Finance Department, has been at work looking at how these program dollars could be used to redevelop a facility to be used for individuals experiencing homelessness.

At the Monday, 9/17 City Council meeting, the Council voted to allocate these surplus grant funds to Self Help Enterprises for transitional /respite/ bridge public facility for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Since this action adds a new eligible activity and new beneficiaries, the City is required to conduct a program amendment through community input and a public hearing,” shares Rhonda Haynes, City of Visalia Housing Specialist. “I’ve been presenting the proposed amendment at community meetings and taking comments from citizens, as it’s important that we get feedback from our citizens.”

Thanks to the federal government’s Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) in 2008, the City was awarded $2.388 million dollars to address the foreclosure crises impact in Visalia.

“Visalia exceeded the requirements that came with the NSP1 funding,” states Haynes. “We were able to take that initial award, and through acquisition and property turn around, really stretch our dollars.”

With remaining funds available to apply, the City received a proposal from Self Help Enterprises, Inc. (SHE) to acquire and rehabilitate a vacant structure for a transitional/respite bridge public facility.

At the Monday, 9/17 City Council meeting, the Council voted to approve the use of NSP1 funds for the acquisition and rehabilitation of a 22-24 bed public facility for transitional/respite bridge housing facility for low income adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Located at 1627 S. Garden Street, SHE will manage operations for the day-to-day needs of the facility and work with a non-profit service provider (i.e. Turning Point) who will provide wrap around supportive services such as case management, housing referrals, and substance abuse/mental health referrals to the tenants.

“Thanks to Council approval and with the help of SHE, we will able to help individuals who are in need of transitional housing or respite bridge housing here in Visalia,” adds Haynes.

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