Lawmakers Trying To Steer More Money To Homeless Coalitions

Apr 10, 2014

Credit Danielle Spraggs

A bill making it easier for local homeless coalitions to receive state funding passed another hurdle Thursday.   

Services for the homeless at the local level are managed by what are known as “continuums of care.”  An important source of funding for these agencies comes in the form of so-called Challenge Grants, which require a continuum of care to match the funds they receive from the state. 

“Sometimes it is through a cash match,” Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-South Pasadena) says.  But an amendment added Thursday would let the state match in-kind contributions.  Peters says allowing in-kind matching will give agencies the ability to use a greater range of resources.

“Sometimes it’s through leases and buildings and capital stuff, and so – it’s a commonly used match in other state grants,” Peters says.

Letting agencies calculate their local contribution this way could allow them to pull down more state funding and thus help them serve more people in the homeless community.  Peters’ bill passed its committee meeting Thursday, but complications remain.  The in-kind matching amendment brought her bill closer to its companion in the Senate, but the proposals still disagree on funding. 

The Senate version supports continuums of care through a trust fund, but Peters’ wants the money to come one year at a time as a general appropriation.