On Tuesday, March 24, the state of California awarded $100 million in emergency grant funding to California counties, Continuums of Care and the state's 13 largest cities to help protect the health and safety of people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, March 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 89, which was approved unanimously by the state Legislature. SB 89 authorized a total appropriation of up to $1 billion to provide assistance to help fight the spread of COVID-19. The next day, Newsom’s administration allocated $100 million in emergency funding from SB 89 to local governments to help protect the homeless population and reduce the spread of COVID-19 by safely getting individuals into shelter and providing immediate housing options.

The Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency's Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council sent out award letters on Tuesday.

"The fast action by the legislature in approving this funding has been matched by the swift action taken by our Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council to get this money out the door and to the local jurisdictions where it's needed," said Newsom. "This is money that will be immediately available to help those who are homeless – among the most vulnerable to COVID-19."

California’s 13 largest cities, or cities that are also a county, will receive $42,968,750, while the state’s 58 counties will receive $27,343,750 and California’s 44 Continuums of Care (planning bodies that coordinate housing and services funds for the homeless) will receive $29,687,500.

The funding is intended for measures to help prevent and contain COVID-19 and can be used for medically indicated services and supplies, such as testing and hand-washing stations. It can also be used for such things as acquiring new shelters, supplies and equipment for emergency shelter operations, increasing shelter capacity, street outreach, and acquiring locations to place individuals who need to be isolated because of COVID-19 illness or exposure.

The San Bernardino city and county continuum of care was allocated $508,056.61, and the county of San Bernardino was allocated $467,425.66.

The Riverside continuum of care was allocated $547,812.48 and the county of Riverside $504,002.12. The city of Riverside, one of the state’s 13 largest, was allocated $1,135,237.64.

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