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Several homeless persons sit in front of Auto Zone on the east side of Brawley. | CALEXICO CHRONICLE/HOLTVILLE TRIBUNE PHOTO

Imperial County Formalizes Post as Homelessness Lead

The Board of Supervisors Approved an MOU As Lead Agency Over Continuum of Care Council

Imperial County’s homelessness aid agency will officially be run by the county after the Board of Supervisors approved a memorandum of understanding formalizing the agreement.

The county board unanimously voted to become the lead agency for the Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council, delineating the respective responsibilities of the IVCCC and the county during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

The IVCCC conducts the point-in-time count of homeless persons in the area and establishes priorities for funding projects.

“The IVCCC and county will work collaboratively to enforce the mission of the IVCCC, to engage individuals and organizations of Imperial Valley in a community-based process that works to eradicate homelessness in the region, addresses the underlying causes of homelessness, and lessens the negative impact of homelessness on individuals, families and the community,” according to a letter to the board from Social Services Director Veronica Rodriguez.

Hipolito Gomez was among those encountered around El Centro on Jan. 24, 2020, by Imperial Valley Continuum of Care Council volunteers during the annual count of the area’s homeless. | CALEXICO CHRONICLE/HOLTVILLE TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO

Imperial County has already been the lead agency for some time, but the MOU formalizes the role. 

However, it wasn’t without some criticism of whether it would affect the county’s general fund in the future. County Executive Officer Tony Rouhotas Jr. brought up that as the IVCCC continues to grow and some of the funding is set to expire, it may affect the county’s main operating budget fund. 

The board asked that staff bring the issue back twice a year to review whether any work related the Continuum of Care Council was impacting the general fund.

Heber Road Project Approved

An estimated $1.2 million construction project that includes work on Heber Road was approved by the county board on Sept. 28. 

The project includes road construction on Heber between Barbara Worth Road to about a half mile east of Anderholt Road, which is a 1.5-mile, county Public Works director John Gay said.

Work includes grinding the existing pavement, crack sealing, asphalt concrete overlay, striping and signage. The project is a federal aid project, so it shouldn’t impact the general fund, he said, and the county will be reimbursed from the Highway Infrastructure Program upon completion of the project.

Letters to the Gov. Newsom

The county board voted on two letters to send to Gov. Gavin Newsom regarding legislation ready for his signature.

As part of its consent agenda which is approved with one motion at the beginning of the meeting, the board voted to ratify a letter sent to Newsom opposing Assembly Bill 1021 and asking the governor to veto the bill.

That bill deals with the Imperial Irrigation District, and, though it no longer includes adding members to the IID board, the supervisors said it supersedes local control of the issue of governance. 

The board also ratified a letter to Newsom supporting an industrial hemp products bill authored by Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Davis.

Aguiar-Curry’s Assembly Bill 45 establishes the framework for industrial hemp under the Sherman Food, Drug & Cosmetic law. The bill requires manufacturers of products containing industrial hemp or hemp products to obtain a process food registration and comply with good manufacturing practices.