While King City’s homeless problem is fortunately not as severe as in many larger cities, homelessness has become a growing issue and too many people in the community are without basic shelter needs.
The extent of the problem is particularly concerning when considering the number of individuals that have temporary or unstable housing situations. It is a very complex and difficult problem to address. It is important to understand that each individual has unique circumstances and challenges, so there is no one common cause or solution.
The City of King is attempting to be proactive, to balance enforcement with compassion and respect for all people, and to pursue ways to provide services that will address the root of the problem and help those involved on a long-term basis.
The City recently formed a King City Homeless Services Coordinating Committee to address issues of homelessness in the community. The Committee includes almost 30 representatives from agencies throughout Monterey County that are involved in homeless issues and services, as well as community members and faith community leaders. The primary goals are to develop strategies to address homelessness, seek funding and coordinate case management of local individuals suffering from homelessness.
The Committee recently increased its ongoing virtual meetings to step up efforts to provide social service support to individuals residing in a nearby encampment. The City and partner agencies have been successful in accessing Covid-19-related funding sources eligible for some of these efforts and relocated a few individuals to available programs.
The Committee coordinated with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, which needed to take enforcement action to address public health issues. The City’s Police Department has also been increasing enforcement of local public health regulations.
One of the primary current goals of the Committee is to develop a “rapid rehousing” program for homeless in the King City community. Rapid rehousing involves providing transitional housing, linking participants with available services, and then assisting with the transition to permanent housing as quickly as possible.
As a result, current efforts are focused on developing a proposal, dedicating a site and obtaining funding to establish the rapid rehousing transitional housing units.
To prevent Covid-19 from increasing homelessness for those whose income and jobs have been impacted, the City is pursuing grants to establish local assistance programs. The funding will be used to provide financial assistance to a limited number of impacted households to help with mortgage, rent and utility payments.
The program is projected to begin by October. You may contact City Hall at 385-3281 if you would like to be notified when the program is available.
Meanwhile, one of the major constraints making solutions challenging is the lack of available housing in King City. Therefore, the City is concurrently working with property owners on strategies to develop new multi-family and affordable housing units. Fee reductions, zoning changes and building height increases are some of the incentives the City has been working on to help with this effort.
New regulations making accessory dwelling units more affordable have also been proposed. A number of projects are in the planning stages, so the City is hopeful that progress is on the way.
Feel free to contact the City at 385-3281 or access the City’s website at www.kingcity.com if you have questions or would like more information about these or other issues.