Redirect Arpa Funds Now to Fund Critical Services for Unhoused Residents

March 7th, 2022

Hon. Don Nottoli, Chair, Supervisor, District 5

Hon. Rich Desmond, Vice Chair, Supervisor, District 3

Hon. Sue Frost, Supervisor, District 4

Hon. Phil Serna, Supervisor, District 1

Hon. Patrick Kennedy, Supervisor, District 2

Sent via Email

Re: American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding Recommendations for Critical Services

Sacramento County Board of Supervisors,

This letter is being sent on behalf of the community members and organizations listed below and outlines our immediate request for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be prioritized to (1) extend life-saving services for unhoused and unstably-housed residents of your districts, and (2) advance health and racial equity in your districts by using the suggested indices to make data- informed decisions about the use of funds.

As a broad, diverse, and unified coalition, we are outlining a request for funds to be immediately reallocated with a focus on transparency, equity, and homelessness prevention. Proper use of the ARPA funds requires Sacramento leaders to be driven by the responsibility to improve the health and well-being of community members and hear the voices of those who are most affected.

Extend Life-Saving Services with $25 Million Supervisor Carve-Out

Project Roomkey

Project Roomkey closure presents an immediate threat to the lives and wellbeing of the 333 residents currently sheltered by this program. Unhoused individuals were triaged for this service based on risk factors for COVID-19. 51% of those served are older than 55, and 39% have chronic health conditions.

The project has successfully housed 174 residents, and 80 more are expected to exit into new housing units. Supervisor Desmond said in the February 9th Board meeting, “A lot of these folks who have been in Project Roomkey hotel, they have shown a high level of success in this environment.” Considering the state’s focus on homelessness prevention and increasing the availability and access to affordable housing, why would the board overlook this opportunity to work in tandem with statewide goals? The Governor is proposing to add an additional $2 billion this year, on top of the $12 billion over two years allocated last year, to create new housing units and prevent homelessness, but these efforts will fall flat if local jurisdictions do not take responsibility within their own means to combat these issues.

Ethan Dye, the County’s Human Assistance Director, reported to the Board on February 9th that Project Roomkey costs $1.6 million monthly at its current capacity. Local advocates report that this program could be executed for much less, but even at this cost Supervisors could choose to extend this program in its current form for another 15 months, if they reverse the inequitable decision to carve out $5 million per Supervisor for piecemeal projects in each district. The impact of this $25 million carve-out could be a powerful example of county leadership to save lives and sustain wraparound services for homelessness alleviation. Or, it could be more of the same, echoing the county’s historical misuse of COVID-19 recovery and aid funding.

Provide Additional Funding to the SERA Program

Of the six housing & homelessness-focused projects in the county’s Phase One Funding Allocation Initial Project List, none of them add more units of housing to the county’s huge deficit. The initial plan states that “the biggest challenge facing the homeless system of care is lack of access to safe and affordable housing,” a fact that has been confirmed by countless reports. If the board is choosing to not fund housing development, the least that can be done is to extend aid to those currently housed but on the brink of homelessness. The Sacramento Emergency Rental Assistance (SERA) program has proved to be much-needed relief for those most impacted by the pandemic. SERA has received over 30,000 applications for aid, and has only been able to support 11,400 of those requests. Additional funding is required, now, to begin processing the additional requests and keep people stably housed.

Use Equity Metrics to Make and Share Data-Informed Decisions

While the county continues to allow Deloitte to pocket over $600,000 for consulting services on the use of these federal funds, the county has failed to make data-informed decisions. We call for an equitable approach to data-driven resource allocation for all future ARPA funding decisions.

Race Counts’ COVID-19 Statewide Vulnerability & Recovery Index is a race-conscious mapping tool for pandemic recovery need. Using indicators specific to COVID-19 risk factors and disproportionately impacted groups, this index should guide decision making around the use of ARPA funds. Race Counts reports, “In less than one year, over 3,250,000 Californians have contracted the virus—and over 40,000 have died from it. Amongst those, Latinx and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) have the highest case rates. Black, NHPI, and Latinx Californians have the highest death rates.” In Sacramento, 95824 and 95815 have shouldered the greatest burden of the pandemic, and an equitable approach to budgeting would consider this data.

The California Healthy Places Index (HPI) is a trusted tool that uses a broad scope of indicators that can reliably predict future harm. Overlaying the HPI mapping tool with the COVID-19 Vulnerability & Recovery index shows the same communities who ended up being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 were known to be subject to greater environmental, social and economic harm pre-pandemic.

Our residents deserve timely explanations on how ARPA-spending and decision-making is done and bi-weekly Board meetings are insufficient. This is an unprecedented opportunity for residents to engage in budgeting and democracy. The Board should create a standing ARPA funding Board agenda item, similar to the one created for COVID-19. In addition, develop and maintain a publicly accessible, interactive, real-time data dashboard that displays each funding decision by status (e.g., in progress, active, denied, etc.), county department and contact information, associated contractors and their funded amounts, demographics reached, impacted neighborhoods (i.e., interactive map), equity impact analysis, etc. This is a cost-effective investment in partially repairing trust that was broken during the CARES Act funding process.

Recovery, Response & Repair

Sacramento County’s Grand Jury recently found that “the County of Sacramento made questionable and opaque maneuvers that skirted the intent of the CARES Act, to the benefit of County coffers and with scant regard for the needs of its citizens.” This coalition requests that the county make the requested changes now as a small step in beginning to repair the damage caused by the misuse of $104.2 million in CARES Act federal funding. Not only did this misuse of pandemic aid erode community trust in its elected leaders, but the cost in lives can only be predicted. How many more of Sacramento’s 2,971 people who passed away during this crisis would still be alive if public health prevention services would have been prioritized over Sheriff’s Office funding? Currently, the county plans to use $11.4 million to provide premium pay for eligible county employees – including, yet again, County Sheriff staff who have not played a role in COVID-19 mitigation efforts.

The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors has an opportunity to save hundreds of lives now by redirecting its $25 million in ARPA funding to sustain Project Roomkey and the SERA program. Future funding decisions can be improved by using data-mapping tools in conjunction with qualitative data from community listening sessions.

Leadership matters. Our community – your constituents – are counting on you to do the right thing. We look forward to continuing our work together in partnership and with a strong commitment to serving all Sacramento community members well.

In Solidarity,


California COVID Justice: Recovery, Response & Repair

Public Health Advocates

Social Justice PolitiCorps for Sacramento County (SJPC)

Justice2Jobs Coalition

Decarcerate Sacramento

Sacramento Homeless Union


Sacramento Radical Education

NorCal Resist

Youth Forward


Autumn Gonzalez – 95818

Francesca Wander – 95835

Emily Edmond – 95814

Rev. Roger Jones – 95825

Jerry Houseman – 95826

Adrianna Lucero – 95816

Lauren Babb – 95821

Courtney Hanson – 95691

Nancy Fleischer – 95816

Diana Proctor – 95818

Mark Dempsey – 95662

Kristina Gelardi – 95816

Mya Dosch – 95816

Kara Toles – 95817

Joan Rubenson – 95826

Caity Maple – 95817

Robin Black – 95821

Lauren Low – 95616

Robert Coplin – 95811

Elizabeth Brick – 95608

Mario Salvagno – 95825

Michelle Jenkins – 95820

Kathleen Styc – 95825

Alan Saunders – 95831

Courtney Poole – 95820

Lisa Schneider – 95817

Bobbie Keill – 95670

Quetzal Cornejo Molina – 95831

Margaret Burnett – 95822

William Zinn – 95610

Rodney Palmer – 95826

Rachel Nickel – 95819

Patricia Daugherty – 95817

Faye Lessler – 95816

Lorri Reynard – 95628

Mary Howard – 95608

Laura Sheperd – 95608

Shea Hazarian – 95816

Olivia Alexander – 95816

Keyan Bliss – 95818

Tibby Wroten – 95864

Sarah Turner – 95834

Paige Dougherty – 95815

Rachael Harrington – 95811

Alexandra Orzeck – 95816

Patricia Symkowick – 95821

Frances Myers – 95819

Ellen Ercolini – 95616

Christine Bailey – 95670

Lynn Carlson – 95608

Alice Walker – 95616

Erin Mahoney – 95814

Kathleen Stricklin – 95825

Rich Howard – 95608

Andrew Hsieh – 95826

Charles Deneke – 95811

Laura Berard – 95608

Robin Visel – 95864

Linda Brandenburg Er – 95822

Carol Goodin – 95608

Celia Buckley – 95817

Josh Greetan – 95818

Virginia Dunstan – 95610

John Drennan – 95816

Dylan Newman – 95616

Alyssa Kohler – 95608

Terrie Wilkie – 95621

Pam Brown – 95662

Jennifer Mosher – 95817

Diana Yarletz – 95628

Lisa Moretti – 95822

Maija Beattie – 95820

Dina Martinez – 95838

Glory Wicklund – 95670

Judith Lane – 95817

Isabelle Fama – 95758

Raul Guerrero – 95825

Alexa Gutierrez – 95820

Cindy Mccoy – 95822

Caty Franco – 95818

Olivia Campa – 95820

Amanda Massimini – 95814

Nick Montoya – 95820

Ashley Hamrick – 95819

William Becker – 95670

Nan Johnson – 95818

Robyn Mcnair – 95691

Marion Randall – 95817

Mengqi Wang – 95831

Lilli Duval – 95683

Oussama Mokeddem – 95841

Allison Graff – 95628

Andy Kelly – 95817

Leslie Larsen – 95817

Tricia Lee – 95670

Crystal Sanchez – 95864

Dana Alpert – 95815

Tiki Harlow – 95608

Carol Houseman – 95826

Marylynn-mimi Lewis – 95819

Andres Tovar – 95673

Dr. Corrine Mcintosh Sako – 95831

Tiffany Huffman – 95691

Lillian Gibbons – 95605

T Murray – 95811

Madeline Moritsch – 95630

Loraine Hernandez – 95820

Olivia Henry – 95818

Zack Kalsey – 95815

Deborah Powell – 95621

Erik Alvarez – 95673

Nia Mooreweath Ers – 95816

Susan Carlsen – 95818

Niki Jones – 95817

Elizabeth Armstrong – 95834

Mason Taylor – 95816

Ricky Rhain – 95691

Liz Blum – 95817

Maria Rivas – 95824

Zachary Nicolos – 95608

Zuri K. Colbert – 95828

Mallory Stevens – 95816

Rick Stevens – 95833

Stephanie Bailey – 95758

Nancy Stevens – 95833

Paige Kalsey – 95815

Laurie Jones – 95820

AleiaHaith – 95691

Richard Counts – 95864

Jessica Powell – 95826

Penny Kuchulis – 95746

Rexanne Irizarry – 95823

Zoe Kipping – 95811

Kula Koenig – 95843

Total: 133 Community Member Signatures

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