“For these folks, we need to recognize and encourage non-traditional housing options (including) shared housing, board and care, returning to families/friends (and) co-living.”

With California experiencing a severe housing crisis, state Sens. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, and Jim Beall, D-San Jose, recently organized a joint informational hearing at the Capitol to analyze affordable housing options and begin discussing “why funding alone is not sufficient to address” the problem.

Among the experts asked to present at the hearing was Emily Halcon, Homeless Services Coordinator with the City of Sacramento. 

A lack of affordable housing and homelessness are intrinsically tied, Halcon said, and her presentation offered suggestions for transitioning “our homeless systems of care to a housing-crisis resolution system.”

Halcon’s recommendations included shelters adopting a “housing-oriented approach” when providing services and changing the definition of “housing” all together.

California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, October 4, 2018

Watch Halcon’s presentation here. Her speech begins around the 57 minute mark.

“While permanent supportive housing is ideal for many, there is limited stock, and most will not qualify or will wait for years for a spot to open,” she said. “For these folks, we need to recognize and encourage non-traditional housing options (including) shared housing, board and care, returning to families/friends (and) co-living.”

Halcon ended her presentation on a positive note, describing a success story from Sacramento’s winter triage shelter, which opened last year and receives support from the City’s innovative Pathways to Health + Home Program.

A coordinated and collaborative way for the City and its partners to address the complex medical, income and housing needs of people experiencing homelessness, Pathways helps clients stabilize their lives so they can transition from the streets or shelters into more permanent housing.

In the past year, staff have enrolled more than 600 people into the program.