Walnut Creek set to declare 'shelter crisis' as part of state grant

Fle art -- The Walnut Creek City Council is poised to declare on Tuesday a homeless "shelter crisis" in that city.

The Walnut Creek City Council is poised to declare on Tuesday a homeless "shelter crisis" in that city, which would enable the city's participation in a state grant program to fight homelessness.

The statewide Homeless Emergency Aid Program has $500 million in grants to give statewide. Contra Costa County would receive $7,196,770 of that, based on its 2017 point-in-time total homeless population count and its 2017 share of the overall state's homeless population.

The county's Health, Housing and Homeless Services Department will receive Contra Costa's allocation of Homeless Emergency Aid Program funding, and is working with specific jurisdictions (including Walnut Creek) to distribute that grant money throughout the county where it's most needed.

A count done in January showed there were 1,607 people in Contra Costa County considered homeless and without shelter. That is considered to be a conservative estimate.

In Contra Costa County, that annual "point in time" homeless count shows the homeless population is moving eastward. East County has 45 percent of the county's unsheltered population, Central County 34 percent and West County 21 percent.

Walnut Creek is home to Trinity Center, a nonprofit that provides services for homeless people and those threatened with becoming homeless. Trinity Center also operates an annual winter shelter at a National Guard armory near downtown Walnut Creek.

The City Council is scheduled to declare this local shelter crisis during its "consent calendar," meaning it will not be discussed unless someone asks it be discussed.

Tuesday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. in council chambers in City Hall, 1666 N. Main St.