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Territorial Dispatch

Marysville Council Presses on Reducing Homelessness

Nov 29, 2023 04:37PM ● By Sharon Pearce

MARYSVILLE, CA (MPG8) - The Marysville Council listened to Johnny Burke of the Homeless Consortium speak to them at length Tuesday night, November 21, 2023, in the second session in a row on homelessness, this time focusing on statistics for Marysville. Burke spoke of the types of funding he and others believe will finally put momentum into reducing local homelessness.

Stuart Gilchrist presented the formal proclamation to Johnny Burke, Executive Director of the Homeless Consortium, recognizing its overseeing work.  Burke provided a statistical update on the situation. Burke explained that the Consortium collaborates with “tons of partners” to develop programs, which now include a software sign-in system to better track progress of the homeless to becoming properly housed, and the coordinated entry program, to direct individuals to the proper program for their need.

Burke identified again explained the distinction between being homeless, and precariously housed, which distinctions are not used by HUD, but helps local service workers identify those who have no resource from those who occasionally have enough money to stay in a motel or can sleep on a couch in someone’s home. Burke says it helps in counting the homeless.

Though counting has been different since the Covid lockdown, Burke said that in Yuba Co. the homeless count was at 545 over 90 days recently. When homeless were asked what City they considered home, 269 reported Marysville though council members pointed out they do not believe there are that many within the city. Burke said that some live beyond the city, maybe about 80 in Olivehurst and Linda but about 225 think of Marysville as their home.

Mayor Chris Branscum appeared to disagree with counting any but those within Marysville as local homeless. Burke said homeless preferred this city in Yuba County but that “on the other side of the river, Yuba City was the top vote getter.” Mayor Branscum responded that he “was not seeing a radical difference year-after-year in homeless statistics and asked Burke, ‘How do we move that needle?’”

Burke replied, “Affordable housing; I don’t know how to say it any more simply.” Mayor Branscum replied, “Marysville has 14% of the county population and 78% of the homeless, more than all of Sutter Co. Why are we such a magnet?  It has 12,000 people; it must be something they get here. Yuba City is 60,000.” Branscum concluded by saying “I’m not sure affordable housing is the answer. There is money, programs take the money, but…(still, there is homelessness).”

Round Three of the State’s new funding grant also requires that each area have a homeless action plan focused on prevention, keeping residents stable, and developing goals. Burke spoke of a future project to convert the old hospital to be a place for recuperative care for homeless persons who have recently had surgery who might need a place to recuperate afterward.

Vice Mayor Bruce Buttacavoli asked about the accounting for the funding and was told how it is rolled over into the present, with a formal filing given each year if funds remained above a certain amount.

Judy Mann, host of the city history tour, said her backyard abuts Ellis Lake, and she was “beginning to fear for her life.” She added “We have to work on the appearance of downtown Marysville. Where is the security? Street lights don’t work. There is increasing vandalism on D Street. Please make it safe for me and my visitors,” she said.

The council approved all items on the Consent Calendar. As to the Quarterly Investment Report for the Quarter September 30, 2023, Marysville is not running at a deficit, they were told; the overall budget is coming down, grant money is coming in followed by reimbursements once it pays for projects. Sometimes it must pay from its resources until reimbursements arrive.

In conjunction with the California Commission on Housing Development, a Community Development Block Grant (“CDBG”) for $2.52 million came up for reapplication, requiring the city to listen to a presentation that night, and pass a resolution for reapplication, which it did. The funds are expected in September to December 2024, then projects will be put out for bid, and work would probably begin in the Spring of 2025. Funds can be used for public improvements and housing refurbishment, they were told.

City Manager Chris Schaad reported that ½ of Ellis Lake has been treated and tested for phosphorus and it will be finished in two weeks. Schaad reported the ribbon cutting took place at Gavin Park and public consensus was it needed a slide. Funds for that were available so a slide would probably be obtained next Spring.

The city was told that the Griswold Christmas Parade will take place at 5 pm on December 2nd and that the County Community Director will light the Tree just before 5:30 pm.

Mayor Branscum concluded as a note of remembrance that November 22nd marks the 60th anniversary of the death of President John F. Kennedy.

The next regular meeting of the Marysville City Council will be on Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 6 pm.

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