Feds Leave California Local Governments Holding a $300 Million Bag

California cities and counties could be on the hook for $300 million for emergency shelter assistance offered to unhoused people during the pandemic. The sticker shock comes after the federal government reneged on a promise for full reimbursement, according to state and local officials.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, “FEMA first said it would reimburse 75% of the costs [for Project Roomkey], then told counties it would actually cover the entire cost of the non-congregate shelter program through July 1, 2022, and 90% afterward, through May 11, 2023. In October, however, FEMA officials sent a letter to the California Office of Emergency Services saying that it would not reimburse many hotel stays of longer than 20 days between June 11, 2021, and May 11, 2023.”

San Francisco is now staring down $190 million in unreimbursed expenses. Sonoma County could be out $32 million and San Diego County could lose $28 million. For Sacramento County, that number is $9 million. 

Susan Ellenberg, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, called FEMA’s position “indefensible.” Her county may be out $16 million.

Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a letter to FEMA on Jan. 31, urging them to reconsider and ‘honor their commitments.’ So far, FEMA seems intent not to budge. The next step may be arbitration.

Read more at CalMatters.


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Finance

Monday, January 29, 2024 - 11:03

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