In 2017, political officials, governmental agencies, community organizations, and philanthropy continued to find ways to collaborate, plan, create, and implement strategies to reduce and prevent homelessness. With the passage of Proposition HHH in 2016 and Measure H in 2017—two new sources of significant, dedicated funding to combat homelessness—City and County leadership created mechanisms for monitoring and oversight. Additionally, funding was provided to local cities and regional Councils of Governments for increased planning to address homelessness at the local level.
However, elected officials now feel increasing pressure to show immediate progress in reducing homelessness with this dedicated funding. Many community members are overwhelmed by the number of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness across the County, and they express a genuine fear that rising housing costs may lead them to become homeless too. Though members of the public often criticize elected officials for not taking sufficient or timely actions to reduce homelessness, there is sometimes vocal opposition from neighborhood residents when specific locations are proposed for the creation of permanent supportive housing (PSH) or emergency shelter.
During 2016 and 2017, public officials successfully focused on aligning their priorities and strategies across the County and the cities within it. In order for these new collaborations and partnerships to become fully functional in implementing these complex, comprehensive community plans, the next several years must focus on continuing to clearly define roles and responsibilities. Public officials also need to communicate more clearly and frequently to the public about progress and about how the community can continue to sustain that progress. Additionally, without additional state and federal resources to pair with Measure H and Proposition HHH, certain goals of the homeless plans will not be met. The community should come together to advocate for those resources.