June 19, 2024

State Agency Warns Shasta County Over Failure To Distribute Housing Funds – Shasta Scout

For over a year, housing agencies in counties across the North State have been waiting to receive their share of around $4 million in state grant funds for homeless services. 

The state funds are still being held by Shasta County, which received them on behalf of the NorCal Continuum of Care (CoC) over a year ago, but has still neither distributed them to the other counties in the CoC nor transferred them to the new CoC lead agency, the City of Redding.

Now the California Interagency Council on Homelessness (Cal ICH) has issued a strongly-worded letter to Shasta County’s Health and Human Services Agency, saying the county’s delay in distributing the funds to other NorCal CoC partners “is no longer acceptable.” The NorCal CoC is a consortium of seven North State counties that works together to apply for and receives grant funding for homelessness.

This embed documents a letter from the California Interagency Council on Homelessness that was sent to Shasta County on January 10, 2024.

The money in question involves around $4 million in Homeless, Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) funds. The NorCal CoC applied for around $4 million in the third round of HHAP funding, while Shasta County was still its lead administrator so HHAP-3 funds were disbursed by the state to Shasta County’s accounts as the first step towards final disbursements to approved local projects in each NorCal CoC partner county. Each county awards local service providers portions of the funds in order to meet regional goals for reducing homelessness along a continuum of care.

As one of the NorCal CoC counties, Shasta County’s portion of HHAP-3 funds includes about $1 million in funds for local projects. Six nonprofits have been promised HHAP-3 funds from Shasta County. They include the Shasta Community Health Center, Lutheran Social Services, FaithWorks, Pathways to Housing, Ready for Life Host Homes, and the United Way. The projects were awarded funds by a vote of the NorCal CoC Excutive Board in May 2023, which should have triggered distribution from Shasta County. But so far none have received funds.

It’s unclear why the county has delayed distributing the funding. Over the last six months, members of both the CoC’s Executive Board and Shasta Advisory Board have repeatedly spoken up during public meetings to ask for information about the delayed funding. The county has not responded with clear accounting for the funds or information on when they might be distributed.

Cal ICH became involved in August, right after Shasta County announced it would withdraw from its role as the lead administrative agency for the CoC, in hopes of facilitating a smooth transfer of funds from the county to the City of Redding which picked up the lead administrative role in September.

But after months of failed attempts to get the county to transfer the funds, Cal ICH has now issued a demand: turn over all HHAP-3 funds over to the City of Redding within thirty days — even the money originally granted to Shasta County itself as part of the NorCal CoC.

The demand comes with a threat. If the county fails to turn over the funds, Cal ICH says it will have no other choice than to consider the “immediate recoupment of all HHAP funds.” That would include the millions of dollars distributed as part of the first two HHAP rounds as well as those from HHAP-3.

In response to a request for comment, HHSA’s Assistant Director, Christy Coleman, said the county plans to comply with Cal ICH’s request to transfer the funds within 30 days, as long as county supervisors approve.

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