Tuesday , July 23 2024
City on right track to deal with vagrancy in public parks

City Manager gets hands on with Housing and Homeless Division

San Bernardino City Manager Charles Montoya is taking matters into his own hands.

Following a January 12 injunction prohibiting San Bernardino from removing homeless encampments, the Housing and Homeless Division will now be under direct oversight of the City Manager’s office.

The reason, Montoya states, is due to several projects with looming deadlines.

“Housing and Homelessness are two of the City’s top priorities,” said Montoya. “We have several large projects to complete in a short period of time and must ensure that the recent temporary injunction restricting our ability to address encampments is lifted quickly.”

San Bernardino received nearly $35 million from the State last week for it’s Community Wellness Campus, a 140 interim housing unit project for homeless men to be developed in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of Southern California. A condition of the funding is that the project must be completed within twelve months.

The City is also working to develop a homeless navigation center at the former School of Hope site on 6th Street. The facility will provide both housing and services in a central location with as many as 224 housing units in its first phase. The City has allocated $21 million to build the navigation center, with $12.4 million coming from Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding. These funds must be obligated by the end of 2024.

“We can’t put these projects on pause,” added Montoya. “The clock is ticking to get them accomplished.”

Montoya stated that he and Assistant City Manager Edelia Eveland would oversee the department for approximately 90 days, until a new Community Development and Housing Director is hired and brought up to speed on the issues.

The City is also finalizing agreements on temporary shelter beds while the Community Wellness Campus and Navigation Center projects are under construction and developing additional partnerships with the County of San Bernardino, all while working with the court to lift the temporary injunction involving encampment cleanups.

The court indicated it would consider vacating its order restricting cleanups if the City submits a written policy outlining its homeless encampment clean-up procedures. The City is currently developing such a policy.

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