Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen Meets with Federal Officials Regarding Homeless Assistance Funding
(Washington, DC) Supervisor Janet Nguyen, Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors met today with federal officials and members of Congress to address the important issue of homeless assistance funding.
“It is critical that we have more flexible funding sources to allow for more discretion at the local level to address our unique needs and to complement and leverage Federal funding with our local resources,” said Supervisor Janet Nguyen, Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
Average rents in Orange County are among the highest in the nation. Income needed to pay the average rent increased from approximately $20 per hour in 2002, to more than $30 per hour in 2009. There are more than 18,600 very low-income applicants admitted to the Orange County Housing Authority waiting list in November 2005. As of December 2009, more than 9,000 applicants are still waiting to be issued a housing voucher, and the wait can last from one to five years.
The need for more flexible funding comes from the fact that housing authorities can only assist the number of households equivalent to their allocated vouchers or their budget, whichever maximum applies. Housing authorities sometimes realize cost savings, which could be used to assist additional families and individuals, if this was permitted under the Appropriations Act.
Supervisor Nguyen asked Federal authorities to do four things:
Appropriate additional funding to increase the supply of housing vouchers.
Modify the appropriations language to allow housing authorities to assist more households than their baseline number of vouchers if they have sufficient funding.
Provide flexible funding sources that enable local communities to adequately support year-round planning to end homelessness.
Provide flexible funding sources that will enable local communities to adequately support discharge planning so people discharged from hospitals, jails and foster care do not become homeless and allow for funding of homeless prevention and emergency shelter activities.
“More flexibility in the use of funding allocated to housing authorities will allows us to maximize the number of households served in Orange County,” Supervisor Janet Nguyen.
Supervisor Janet Nguyen serves as Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors and represents the First District. She also serves as Chair of the OCTA’s Transit Committee. She represents more than 600,000 people, covering the cities of Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Westminster and the unincorporated community of Midway City. Orange County ranks sixth in the nation as the most populous county and has the nation’s seventh highest annual budget.