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Tuolumne County Takes Early Action To Address Homelessness

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Sonora, CA — The Tuolumne County Supervisors approved a formal “County Plan to Combat Homelessness,” which is a requirement to receive a new “No Place Like Home” state grant of $500,000.

It is noted that the latest ATCAA point in time (PIT) homeless count, conducted in January, found there are at least 418 people living homeless in the county. Of the over 300 that are unsheltered, 209 are living in camps, 73 in vehicles and 16 in abandoned buildings.

The county’s plan identifies challenges and top priorities. They include the need for more affordable housing, inadequate shelter options, a lack of agencies and services, a lack of funding, a lack of employment opportunities, transportation challenges and a lack of coordination among providers.

It was noted that $500,000 in state grant funding is a small amount of money in the big picture, but the revenue could be used to help with financing or tax credits for projects in development. For example, the county is working with Visionary Home Builders, a nonprofit affording housing developer in Stockton, regarding a site in Jamestown near the Oak Hills Apartments. The group hopes to construct a 65-unit affordable housing project.

Also, the Stanislaus Housing Authority has purchased a 10-unit apartment complex on Hospital Road in Sonora, and has also purchased a 3.3 acre Caltrans property on Peaceful Valley Road, with the intention of developing affordable units.

The county approved the plan, allowing for the acceptance of state funding, with a 4-0 vote (board chair Karl Rodefer was absent). How to spend the money, and which projects could benefit, will be determined at future meetings.

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