County Dropped the Ball on Measure H Homelessness Funds, City Says

Complaint by City’s housing director to County supervisor earns an apology from Supervisor Barger, and a promise the County will do better

Published : Thursday, March 28, 2019 | 4:41 AM

The City of Pasadena is not receiving its fair share of Measure H Homelessness funds from Los Angeles County, and Pasadena Housing Director Bill Huang Wednesday let County Supervisor Kathryn Barger know about it.

Huang’s opportunity came Wednesday morning at a special meeting of Pasadena’s City Council with Barger at City Hall.

His remarks prompted an apology and a promise from the Supervisor that the County would do better.

Following a June 2017 motion by Barger and Janice Hahn to provide funds to Pasadena’s Continuum of Care, a group of housing support agencies, there has been no funding received, said Huang.

“It’s been 21 months and counting,” Huang told Barger at a joint Special Meeting of the supervisor and the Pasadena City Council. “And still the funds have not arrived.”

Exacerbating the problem, said Huang, is the fact that during those 21 months, Pasadena’s homeless numbers have increased significantly.

“So,” said Huang, “there is a real need for those dollars.”

Huang compared the County’s lack of action to the state’s HEAP program, which provides funds for emergency housing assistance. The state has performed far better than the County, Huang explained

“During the same amount of time,” said Huang, “and with approximately the same amount of dollars, we received our funds quite some time ago,”

Huang then extrapolated Pasadena’s housing needs over the next year, against the County’s planned funding.

“We would like to pursue this idea of Measure H funds being allocated proportionate to our percentage of the homeless population, which is about 1.2 percent of the County’s homeless population,” said Huang.

“If you take that percentage,” Huang continued, “and next year’s (County) allocation is about $460 million, we would get about $5.5 million dollars.”

“Instead,” Huang explained, “We are scheduled to receive about $1 million.” Huang then asked Barger to consider that the County use the same strategies for homelessness funding that the state does, in order to assure that Pasadena receives its share of funding proportionately, and on time. Huang also noted that the County currently dictates spending to the city, leading to a lot of funding that “doesn’t fit” the city, and doesn’t get awarded.

Barger responded that she was “disgusted” by the news and told Huang that she would introduce a motion “with regard to the way the San Gabriel Valley has been treated, and I am very, very irritated by this, to say the least.”

Barger apologized to Huang “on behalf of the County,” saying, “I am terribly sorry that the bureaucracy that I always hit the state for, has now hit the County, and I promise you that this will be taken care of.”

But Councilmember Victor Gordo was not assuaged by Barger’s apology or her promise.

“The County has completely mismanaged Measure H funds,” said Gordo, after the meeting, “and denied Pasadena its fair share, and not just Pasadena, but all of the cities along the Gold Line corridor, who see more than most cities, the direct impact of the homeless population.”

Gordo added, “The County should know that the cities along the Gold Line Corridor are not receiving their fair share of funds, but it’s not just about their share of funds, it’s also about the management of those funds, and giving cities the opportunity in the best possible way to address homelessness, and to mitigate the impacts of homelessness.”

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