FAIRFIELD – The Solano County Board of Supervisors will consider allocating up to $10.6 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds next week for a variety of projects throughout the county, including for homeless assistance and new shelters for victims of domestic violence and at-risk foster youth.
The county won’t be able to fund all of the $20.9 million requested for 10 projects during Tuesday’s meeting. Some of the projects have been given priority status by the Community Action Partnership Solano Joint Powers Authority, a coalition of each area city and the county to coordinate homeless and safety net services.
One project given top priority is a planned 47-unit permanent supportive housing development that is under construction on Broadway Street in North Vallejo. The project is partially funded with $12 million in state Project HomeKey funds, but city officials expect it will cost a total of $22 million.
According to the funding request to the county, Vallejo is seeking about $4 million, including $3 million for construction and $1 million for furnishings and short-term staffing. City officials said the project is expected to open in May. But even with the county allocation it would not be fully funded and two American Canyon residents have sued the city seeking to block its opening. That lawsuit is pending.
Vallejo is also seeking funding for a navigation center project, as are the cities of Fairfield and Vacaville. Vallejo is seeking to open a 125-bed navigation center on a parcel the city recently purchased on Broadway and is asking the county for $2 million in construction costs and $5.6 million for two years of services.
Vallejo’s navigation center has been badly delayed for years. In May 2021, the city’s housing manager revealed to the city council that the project was millions of dollars over budget. She resigned a short time later. Later that year, city officials revealed that the parcel selected was contaminated and unfit for human habitation. It took nearly a year for the city to identify a new location for the project.
Fairfield is seeking funds to renovate and expand an existing shelter at 310 Beck Ave., increasing its capacity from 70 to 130. The funds requested from the county would include $1.1 million for construction of a kitchen and $1.1 million to increase staffing. Vacaville is seeking about $1.1 million to remodel and operate a shelter at an undetermined location.
The city of Benicia also requested $700,000 to renovate a city-owned house for use as a domestic violence shelter that would be operated by nonprofit SafeQuest Solano.
The supervisors will also consider a request for $1.7 million from San Jose-based nonprofit Unity Care to open a new transitional housing center for up to 10 foster and former foster youth to provide housing and case management services for up to five years. The funds would be used to acquire and furnish a 4,000-square-foot house in Fairfield and provide salary and benefits for two staff.
Unity Care was the case management provider for Vallejo’s Project RoomKey program for about a year starting in October 2020, during which time five people died in the program, three of whom weren’t found for days, and participants complained about filthy conditions. Records obtained by the Vallejo Sun show that Unity Care program director Kevin Sharps repeatedly asked Vallejo for more resources due to the hazardous conditions and threatened to pull his staff out of the hotel.
Despite that, Sharps said in a promotional video posted in August 2021 that the Project RoomKey program had been “remarkably successful.”
Unity Care has also been cited for problems with its foster care facilities. In 2019, the state Department of Social Services moved to revoke Unity Care’s licenses to operate five foster facilities in the Bay Area and did not renew a provisional license for a sixth. The state said that staff were sleeping during shifts, two facilities had holes in walls, one had exposed wires and soiled furniture and floors, and another had two bedrooms without smoke detectors. Unity Care admitted the allegations and surrendered the licenses.
The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday in the Board of Supervisors chambers at 675 Texas St., Fairfield. The meeting will be livestreamed on the county’s website.
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THE VALLEJO SUN NEWSLETTER
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- Solano County
- Solano County Board of Supervisors
- Broadway Street Project
- navigation center
- Project HomeKey
- Unity Care
- Safequest Solano
- Kevin Sharps
- Project Roomkey
Scott Morris is a journalist based in Oakland who covers policing, protest, civil rights and far-right extremism. His work has been published in ProPublica, the Appeal and Oaklandside.
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