City exceeds goals for homeless services

CITY HALL — Despite constrained funding and fewer resources, Glendale officials and nonprofits exceeded homeless service goals set by the federal government last year, officials reported this week.

The city's Continuum of Care program includes a wide cross section of social service providers and city departments, and was set up to be separate from Los Angeles County homeless services.

On Thursday, city officials told the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee — which makes federal grant funding recommendations for most of the nonprofits involved in the continuum — that benchmarks in key categories had exceeded those set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"In terms of our continuum, I am actually happy to report that we are doing pretty good," said Ivet Samvelyan, the city's homeless services coordinator.

The continuum provides homeless people with support services, an emergency shelter, outreach, transitional and permanent housing.

The city's program increased the number of homeless maintaining permanent housing for more than six months to 82%, she said. The minimum requirement was 71.5%.

And 80% of homeless people transitioned from temporary housing to permanent housing, far more than the national goal of 63.5%, according to a city report.

The program also increased the number of homeless people who got jobs to 27%, compared with the 19% federal requirement.

The program has achieved the outcomes despite constrained federal funding, Samvelyan said.

Five grants and programs that totaled roughly $3 million funded the city's Continuum of Care for the 2009-10 fiscal year, she said.

"It's pretty tight, and there are a lot of technical definitions of homelessness that most of the organizations cannot apply for funding because they have to serve a specific target population," she said.

Meanwhile, the local homeless population increased this year after the city hosted the winter shelter program, said Jess Duran, assistant director of the Community Services and Parks Department.

The city served 428 homeless people in 2010, up from 258 in 2009, officials said.

The program is slated to receive additional funding to support programs for homeless military veterans and chronically homeless clients for permanent housing, Samvelyan said.

About 80% of the city's homeless population claimed Glendale as their residence last fiscal year, Samvelyan said. The remaining 20% homeless population came to the city from nearby communities.

Emergency shelter and prevention programs also provided case management for 1,097 people, according to a city report.

"The important thing is that it goes back to we are meeting the needs of the homeless in the community," advisory committee member John Sadd said.

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