With funding, programs, and oversight for housing and services available at the federal, state, and local levels, there are a variety of resources to help the thousands of people experiencing homelessness in the region. Yet there is no one single program or funding source that comprehensively addresses the wide array of housing and services necessary to help communities end homelessness.
The jurisdictional authority over solutions to homelessness simultaneously sits at the federal, state, county, and local levels. Housing issues such as zoning and environmental impact are city-controlled. California counties have authority over allocation of behavioral health services and/or public benefits. The state and federal government offer millions of dollars of resources such as housing vouchers and funding for emergency shelters and permanent housing.
With an array of programs and funding, communities addressing homelessness have to deal with bureaucratic complexities – multiple application and funding streams to work with, differing reporting and evaluation requirements, and significant administrative burdens.
Even within a county, local authority differs across the spectrum of programs and services. Cities are responsible for city services and thus have some level responsibility for addressing encampments and those people living without shelter, while counties may be funding emergency shelters and permanent housing. The practical complexities of homeless service delivery often comes down to whether there is trust throughout the system, but also manifests in everyone rushing to get their piece of the limited pie.