County approves $15.5 million to support homeless crisis response

The Clark County Council has approved a request to allocate $15.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to support the Clark County Homeless Crisis Response System (HCRS).

The one-time funding will increase the capacity of the HCRS through Dec. 31, 2024, in a multitude of ways including:

  • Increase availability and coordination provided by homeless outreach teams, and outreach team staffing
  • Provide additional motel vouchers and increased operations support to temporarily increase indoor shelter bed capacity for persons experiencing homelessness
  • Increase indoor congregate and non-congregate shelter beds
  • Rent assistance and increased housing supports for existing rapid rehousing programs
  • Additional housing and supports for existing permanent supportive housing programs

“These resources are necessary to help our county providers have the capacity to respond to the visible increase in unsheltered homelessness resulting from the pandemic, and help persons in need in a meaningful way,” said Michael Torres, the county’s Community Housing and Development Manager.

“Staff appreciate the County Council prioritizing this funding to help address the impacts COVID-19 had on the homeless system,” said Community Services Director Vanessa Gaston. “This investment will go a long way in helping vulnerable people.”

The $15.5 million is part of $95 million the county will receive from the U.S. Department of the Treasury as part of the American Rescue Plan to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased visible unsheltered homelessness while at the same time making provision of homeless outreach services more difficult, increasing housing stabilization costs, increasing the amount of time people are in need of services, and reducing available housing in the rental market.

The staff report for this funding is on the county’s website at clark.wa.gov.