California Secretary Meets with San Bernardino Leaders to Address Affordable Housing and Homelessness

California Secretary Meets with San Bernardino Leaders to Address Affordable Housing and Homelessness
Photo provided by the City of San Bernardino

On Friday, June 30, Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez of the California Secretary of Business, Consumer Services, and Housing (BCSH) met with key leaders from the City of San Bernardino to engage in crucial discussions surrounding affordable housing and homelessness. The meeting aimed to foster collaboration and explore potential solutions to address the pressing challenges faced by the city.

Accompanying Secretary Castro Ramirez were BCSH Deputy Secretary for Equity & Strategic Initiatives, Erica Gonzalez, and Carina Tamayo from the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. The San Bernardino delegation comprised Mayor Helen Tran, Council Member Sandra Ibarra, and Deputy Director for Housing and Homelessness, Cassandra Searcy.

During the meeting, Mayor Tran, Council Member Ibarra, and Deputy Director Searcy provided an update on the progress made by the City in the past eight months, highlighting various initiatives and projects. These included plans for interim and permanent shelter beds, the development of affordable housing, the homeless navigation center, the recently launched homeless outreach team, and the COAST (Community Outreach and Support) Team.

Secretary Castro Ramirez focused on discussing both current and upcoming funding opportunities at the State level. She emphasized the advantages of San Bernardino receiving a pro-housing designation from the State, which would unlock additional resources and support. Furthermore, she underscored the importance of collaboration with the County of San Bernardino, as they receive a significant portion of the allocated funding for the region, with the expectation that funds will be distributed to areas of utmost need.

One alarming statistic that was highlighted during the meeting was that approximately 36% of the homeless individuals in San Bernardino County reside within the City of San Bernardino. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the City had previously declared a homeless state of emergency in February, reflecting their commitment to finding effective solutions.

The meeting served as a platform to share valuable insights, exchange ideas, and explore strategies to address the intertwined issues of affordable housing and homelessness. Secretary Castro Ramirez's presence underscored the State's commitment to working collaboratively with local leaders and supporting their efforts to create sustainable solutions.

By fostering partnerships and leveraging available resources, it is hoped that San Bernardino can make significant progress in mitigating homelessness and expanding affordable housing opportunities. The engagement between State and local leaders offers a promising pathway towards a brighter future, where every resident has access to safe and affordable housing.

Through continued dialogue, innovative approaches, and a shared commitment to addressing the housing crisis, the City of San Bernardino can pave the way for transformative change in the lives of its residents and contribute to the broader effort of building a more equitable and inclusive California.

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