City of Fontana gets help from federal government to fight homelessness | News

The City of Fontana is getting lots of federal help in its quest to tackle the homelessness crisis.

On Feb. 3, Congressman Pete Aguilar (D-33rd District) joined local officials to announce that $4 million had been approved by Congress in December to help start the construction of the Fontana Homeless Prevention Resource and Care Center.

“This is something that will move very quickly because of the leadership that Fontana has put forward,” Aguilar said during the news conference at the CityLink Food Warehouse.

Fontana Deputy City Manager Phil Burum said that the first phase of the project would create an “immediate resource for 48 individuals to be housed.”

Burum said that when completed, the entire project would feature three separate neighborhoods that would provide “housing with dignity.” The facilities would have 24-hour “wrap-around care” for those who need it, he said.

“The intention is to get people off the street and put them into a situation where they can thrive and readjust, and get back into the system for those who embrace the opportunity,” he said.

San Bernardino County 2nd District Supervisor Jesse Armendarez said the program does not have a “one-size-fits-all” approach, but instead helps people on an individual basis who may have issues relating to mental health, drug addiction, or other difficulties.

Jesse Sandoval, a member of the Fontana City Council, said he welcomed the construction of the shelter in his district. He thanked Aguilar as well as U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla (D-California) for pushing this funding through Congress.

“People say: ‘The federal government doesn’t care.’ But they DO care, because they had to work together to put this whole funding together,” Sandoval said.

Burum said that the city will be coordinating with San Bernardino County as well as the private sector to make this project a success.

“This council is committed to ending homelessness in Fontana,” said Mayor Acquanetta Warren.

The City Council previously approved $8 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to go toward this effort, she said.

“We’re going to build a one-of-a-kind facility that will not only help those who are homeless get where they need to be, but it will also prevent others from becoming homeless,” she said.

Fontana, like many other cities, experienced an increase in its homeless population in recent years. The city had 156 homeless persons last year, according to a count which was conducted by the county.

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