Permanent Supportive Housing FAQs

BACKGROUND

Is the county creating homeless shelters in residential neighborhoods? 

No. The homes in question are permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals. Residents pay rent and have tenant rights and responsibilities. They are supported by ongoing case management through programs such as Whole Person Care, as long as is necessary to ensure their continued stability and success.

Who owns and runs the homes? 

Placer County Health and Human Services has contracted with two local nonprofit providers, AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn, to purchase and operate a handful of homes as of 2020. Both providers have a long history of providing housing services – including permanent supportive housing – to at-risk populations here in Placer County.

How are these homes selected for purchase?

As only one tenant is allowed per bedroom, HHS and its partners typically look for homes with five to six bedrooms. Ideally, homes are in good condition and require few repairs, as rehabilitation can be cost-prohibitive. Other considerations include the surrounding area and proximity to shopping, public transportation and services. Property selection remains constrained by the limited housing availability in Placer County.

How are the homes funded? 

Homes have been funded primarily through federal, state and private grants, and not county general fund dollars. For example, funds have been used from the Whole Person Care pilot program; the Mental Health Services Act, CARES and grants from Sutter Health, among others. These funds are generally restricted use and must be used for housing for homeless or people at risk of homelessness. The homes have deed restrictions in place so it is assured contractors use them for this purpose.

Why are funds prioritized in this manner? 

Housing First is a nationally-recognized housing model.  The idea behind Housing First is that people are not able to effectively work on other problems that they have when they are homeless, but when they have housing they can work on various problems they might be dealing with.

Studies have shown that housing homeless individuals can save money compared to the public costs for criminal justice, health care, emergency room, behavioral health and other services if they are unhoused. For example, a study between the UC Irvine and United Way found the estimated cost of services per capita for permanent supportive housing clients was 50% lower than for the chronically homeless ($51,587 versus $100,759).

SCREENING

How are tenants placed in homes? 

Health and Human Services staff refer clients from their programs, including Whole Person Care, to AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn. Once referred to the contractor, the contractor also interviews the individuals and choose who they feel will be the best fit and able to succeed in the home.

Can someone with a criminal past be placed in a home? 

Individuals who are registered sex offenders are not referred for placement. Individuals with other criminal history are not excluded from government health care programs, but Health and Human Services does not refer individuals with a history of violence who they believe could pose a risk to housemates or neighbors. HHS also considers other behaviors (such as noise levels, etc.) when referring, and only refers those who they believe would be a good fit.

What other types of backgrounds might tenants have?

Individuals must be Placer County residents.  Many are people who have been chronically homeless for some time, but who are still engaged in services designed to help them improve their quality of life. Some have complex needs, ranging from physical disabilities to mental health challenges or substance use disorders. Illegal substance use is not permitted at the homes and would be grounds for eviction.

What responsibilities do the tenants have? 

Residents of the homes will pay between 30% to 40% of their income towards rent and agree to abide by house rules, set by AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn. Some tenants who are disabled pay a portion of their benefits into rent; while others who are able to work pay from their salary.

SECURITY

What kind of onsite presence is there from county or nonprofit staff? 

AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn assign staff to each of the homes. Some houses are designed for tenants who may need more support, and those have a full-time monitor (including nights and weekends). Other homes have tenants who require lower level support and in-person check-ins are conducted during normal business hours, but there is still a house manager on call.

County staff also typically engage with their housed clients at least one to two times per week.

How often are tenants evicted and where do they go afterward? 

The program has a history of success with few evictions. If an individual leaves the program, HHS works to relocate them to another site, such as a shelter or with a family/friend.

Are weapons allowed in the home?

Firearms and other types of weapons are not permitted.

What oversight does the county have over nonprofit contractors running the homes? 

The county provides contract oversight to both AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn, which includes regular discussion and evaluation of operations and activities. Both the county and the contractors regularly have staff on site at homes who interact with one another.

COMMUNICATION

What outreach is undertaken when contractors purchase a home? 

Contracts for both AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn to purchase and operate permanent supportive housing were approved at a public board meeting and publicized thereafter by the county. The contractors purchase these homes directly.  When an individual property is purchased, Health and Human Services will notify key government stakeholders. Both AMI Housing and The Gathering Inn conduct neighborhood outreach when a home opens, though recent in-person outreach opportunities have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. HHS also respects the legal privacy and confidentiality of tenants in the homes.

How are concerns addressed? Who can neighbors contact if they have a concern or question about something occurring in their neighborhood? 

Reach out to the house manager at the property in question. If you do not know the name or contact information of the house manager, submit your question along with the house address to this form and it will be forwarded to the appropriate house manager or staff member.