Fresno Homeless Plan

Fresno, CA, USA The city and county don't have long to apply for the funds to fight the chronic homelessness issue. Two leaders Action News spoke with Sunday are certain their peers will vote to make a difference on Tuesday.

At night it's hot, desolate and windy in tent city, Fresno's homeless camp. During the day it's worse. The heat of the California sun makes living in this open field under Highway 41 feel like an oven.

But city and county officials are trying to change that. "I'd like to say in ten years that it'll be gone completely-- no it won't but can we do better? Or more than we're doing right now? Absolutely," said Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea.

County Supervisor Henry Perea along with officials from the City of Fresno have spent the last several months designing a ten year plan to end chronic homelessness. At the core of this plan is a housing first program.

Perea said the county has already put down $5 million dollars from state funds. "The county's gonna be taking the lead and putting the housing together and the services that are around it."

The city will lend its social services programs to help as well. Councilmember Blong Xiong said this program will really have legs if they apply for and receive federal dollars from housing and urban development. "It's about making sure we have the federal funds coming in because part of that federal funds is the partnership that has to happen to be able to get those federal funds."

Mike West is counting on this program. A homeless man who said he moved to Fresno from Philadelphia for a job only to find out that job fell through. Now he's living under a tree near Highway 41.

West said a united front from the city and county could be the solution to the homeless problem in Fresno. "Any kind of housing would be nice. It would help us get jobs. If you have a place to go an address…even an address helps to get a job."

But one homeless person we spoke with was skeptical of any help from local government. "There's always doubt. Government is government. You can only flip a coin and whatever side it ends up on is where it's at," said Manuel.

A housing first expert from the federal government will be at Tuesday's emergency meeting to explain to Fresno City Council and the Fresno County Board of Supervisors how this program works. If Fresno is awarded the money it would amount close to $600,000 dollars.


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