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  • Kelly Rhone

Grants for Transitional Housing

OKLAND, California - As you know by now, there are transitional housings that are funded by the government rather than by private businesses or organizations. Now have you ever wondered how and why the government does so? Well, I have, which is why I dug deeper into this topic this time!


Before we start though, let’s take a look at the definition of some sites in regard to government grants before delving deeper into it!


So according to grants.gov,

“A grant is a way the government funds your ideas and projects to provide public services and stimulate the economy. Grants support critical recovery initiatives, innovative research, and many other programs listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA).
A grant is one of many different forms of federal financial assistance. Federal financial assistance is a broad term to refer to the various ways the U.S. government redistributes resources to eligible recipients.”

Meanwhile, when you look at the definition in investopedia.com, the following is stated:

“A government grant is a financial award given by a federal, state, or local government authority for a beneficial project. It is effectively a transfer payment. A grant does not include technical assistance or other financial assistance, such as a loan or loan guarantee, an interest rate subsidy, direct appropriation, or revenue sharing. The grantee is not expected to repay the money but is expected to use the funds from the grant for their stated purpose, which typically serves some larger good.”

As you’ve read, grants are basically the government’s way of financially supporting certain projects that they deem beneficial for the citizens or the economy, and for this case, it so happens that transitional housings are one of them!


One thing to take note about grants though is that it may also support recovery initiatives, agricultural projects, and innovative research in all sorts of field.


So how do grants even work? Even I was quite curious about it so let’s have a short discussion on it first to give a clearer gist of the topic at hand.


Federal grants are said to go through three main phases as stated in instrumentl.com:

  • Pre-award. This is when the government announces the grant funding opportunity in a grant package and also when one applies for federal grant.

  • Award. Now in this next phase, it is when the government will notify one of the results of their application for grant, basically whether they have been selected to receive funding or not.

  • Post-award. For this last phase, this is when one’s proposed program is being carried out, hence, a report on its progress, achievements, and spending of funds is a need before closing out the program.

Now to the usually long-awaited advantages and disadvantages which we usually look for to weight our options! Luckily for us, instrumentl.com has us covered in this topic as well!


Advantages to receiving a government grant are:

  • “Government grants usually award large amounts of money to allow you to grow your organization’s programs.

  • Government grant awards provide your program and organization stability. They are often a multi-year, reliable funding stream.

  • Receiving a government grant boosts your organization’s reputation, and may help you secure funding from additional sources in the future.”

Disadvantages to receiving a government grant are:

  • “Government grants require a lot of staff time to apply. The application requirements are often prescriptive, so they need preparation, teamwork, and documentation.

  • Receiving a government grant also requires a lot of staff time. Your organization will need to track funding, gather program data, submit frequent reports, and prepare for audits.

  • The guidelines include high compliance standards. Your organization's internal processes need to meet several accountability benchmarks.”

I think we’ve dug deep enough into grants by now so let’s move on to the program receiving the grants we had just covered, “Transitional Housings”!


In case you’ve forgotten what exactly transitional housings are, a brief description of it from one of our previous articles would be,

“Transitional housing is temporary housing for certain segments of the homeless population. It includes the working homeless people who are earning too little money to afford long-term housing or permanent housing.”

Now we do know that there had already been a number of homeless people pre-pandemic, right? What more of it during this pandemic when the economy had been quite unstable with many people losing their jobs added into the equation.


According to oaklandside.org, Oakland had received millions of dollars as grants for the homeless shelters during the pandemic, a total of $44 million from multiple grants to be exact.


What was it for you ask? It was to pay for hundreds of shelter beds, transitional housing, rent sub subsidies, employment training, and hygiene services for unhoused residents.


As such, it was said that the city staff didn’t expect that “one-time” money to be renewed, leading to the city staff to get working and focusing on preserving existing Oakland homelessness programs as one of the existing programs to close would end up with them needing four to five months to find housing for impacted residents.


Hence, with the funds raised by Measure Q – a parcel tax approved by Oakland voters the previous year to pay for homelessness services – the transitional programs Henry Robinson Center and The Holland were to be continued and to depend on the aforementioned ongoing funds.


Did you know?


It turns out that out of all of Oakland’s current programs, transitional housing is said to be the most expensive intervention at the moment but also one with the best outcomes with the individuals at the Holland and the Henry Robinson Center staying in their rooms there for 4-6 months as caseworkers help them connect with social services, seek employment, and stabilize their lives before ideally moving into permanent housing!


Now another instance where grants were provided in Oakland can be found in Alameda County where an amount of $6.6 million will be used to fund the roughly six-month, youth-led planning process, which can be applied to the first two years of the programs and services the youth comes up with as stated in oaklandside.org.


Quite a surprise huh? But then again, as said by Brandy Mays, a 29-year-old Fremont resident who was unhoused at three different points while growing up in the Bay Area, “Homelessness is a traumatic experience. Youth need counseling, therapy, and people who can listen to them. At a lot of these shelters, they feel staff is not properly trained to deal with these issues”, which I definitely agree with.


Hence, the grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development exactly with the goal and hopes of putting an end to youth homelessness, leading to the youth being given the task of leading the planning process in coming up with a plan focusing on the needs of people ages 18 to 24.


Despite the fact that there are still many people who live on the streets, Oakland has had many successful programs recently for these cases and are still pushing for the betterment of such programs.


Meanwhile, knowing that so many of the current programs are extremely dependent on one-time funds or insufficient amounts of money, by February 2021, officials and advocates in Oakland had even been supporting a state bill that was said would create the first major sustainable funding source to end homelessness in California, the bill AB71 and the vocal backer of such bill being Mayor Libby Schaaf.


The bill is said to “raise the corporate tax rate for large companies, generating $2.4 billion yearly for supportive housing, emergency shelters, and other services”, hence the business groups being the ones to oppose the bill since they would be the ones mainly taking the brunt of disadvantages from such bill.


Nevertheless, just from the aforementioned articles, it can be seen how much Oakland cares for its citizens and even the homeless ones as they make sure to act to move closer to their goal of eradicating homelessness!


So, what do you think? Would you also support the bill?


After all, with a goal such as eradicating homelessness within one’s society, it’s clear that it’s not something only one or two groups of people nor a few officials should be facing by themselves as team effort is clearly required in reaching such ends.

See you next time in our next article!

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