Documented by Artemes Gidram

Here’s what you need to know

  • Medi-Cal has begun requiring clients to renew their insurance for the first time since 2020.
  • This requirement will have a rolling deadline depending on several individual factors.
  • The Continuum of Care has formed an ad-hoc committee with the intention of creating a uniform training program.

 Follow-up questions

  • How have all the efforts discussed impacted the overall community of individuals facing homelessness in Fresno?
  • How supportive of the efforts of various groups and organizations are the Fresno City Council and the Fresno Board of Supervisors?


The Scene

The Fresno Madera County Continuum of Care Board meeting was held on Sep. 14, 2023, at 8:30 a.m.

The meeting took place entirely over Zoom. The agenda is available on the Continuum of Care’s website.

Name of Officials:

Laura Moreno, chair

Jody Ketcheside, vice chair

Sara Mirhadi, secretary

Misty Gattie-Blanco, treasurer

Alex Sanchez, member-at-large

Katie Wilbur,  member-at-large

  • Laura Moreno was present and called the meeting to order promptly at 8:30 a.m.
  • Approval of August and July minutes as well as the September financial report.
    • Motion by Ketcheside, second by Gattie-Blanco.
    • The vote passed unanimously.
  • Medi-Cal Renewal
    • Presentation by Alissa Weiss with Homebase.
      • The importance of the presentation was ensuring that people experiencing homelessness retain insurance coverage.
      • Several terms are being used such as redetermination, recertification and renewal but it all refers to the same thing.
      • There was a three-year pause in required renewals due to the pandemic.
      • Renewals have restarted as of June 2023.
      • There is an expectation across the country that millions of people will lose their coverage.
        • In California, that number is expected to be 2 million to 3 million people.
        • An expected 1.5 million of that is expected to still be eligible.
      • The homeless population is at risk of procedural denials because:
        • Didn’t get renewal information in the mail;
        • Language barriers;
        • Mail is being sent to their old home address;
        • Paperwork was turned in too late.
      • People experiencing homelessness are especially at risk of losing coverage.
      • The state is working toward allowing people to automatically renew, using the previous data already provided by the individuals.
      • There is a program called CalAIM that provides additional support with comprehensive case management.
      • Next steps
        • It is really important that people experiencing homelessness update their mailing service/address.
        • Best ways to update contact information:
          • Making an online account.
          • Calling or visiting a county Medi-Cal office.
          • There will soon be a tool kit available, possibly next week.
          • Anyone looking for more assistance can seek out navigators.
        • Ways to spread the word.
  • Formation of an ad-hoc committee for a bridge training platform
    • Moreno:
      • This is planned to be a three-year training plan.
      • The goal is to ensure that everyone in the homeless force is trained in the same way and that organizations have something to turn to.
      • Funding is through the Housing and Homelessness Incentive Program (HHIP).
      • Poverello House is going to manage the platform.
      • The committee will develop the policies and procedures.
      • The expected time frame to put together a training program is three to six months.
      • Volunteers
        • Marcella Lopez
        • Cynthia Cardenas
        • Katie from RH2
        • Miguel Perez
        • Tina Rodriguez
        • Elizabeth Campos
        • Dez Martinez
        • Chris Allen-Rowe
  • Housing and Development (HUD) Continuum of Care Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)
    • Maya Spark stated that this was not supposed to be on the agenda.
  • Lived Experience Advisory Board (LEAB) update
    • Spark:
      • The board has had two meetings since the last Continuum of Care meeting.
      • The city of Fresno talked to LEAB about encampment funding round two of $17 million provided by California.
      • A lot of great questions were asked of the city and the advisory board, requested earlier involvement for round three.
      • Fresno has been doing lived-experience surveys.
      • Biographies for members of the advisory board who wish to publicize themselves can be found on the Continuum of Care website.
      • The advisory board had discussions about the Housing and Development Continuum of Care Funding of Opportunity and how it asks for the inclusion of people with lived experiences.
      • HUD is requesting a letter from people with lived experience.
        • The advisory board will have further discussions and approve a letter at a later time.
      • Gattie-Blanco made a stipend update.
      • RH Community Builders presented their shelter matrix policies.
      • The Fresno County Department of Social Services provided benefits training.
      • Alex Soto gave a report on attending the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Preventing (HHAP) first planning meeting.
      • The advisory board had vice-chair elections.
        • Dez Martinez was elected vice-chair.
      • Approved HUD NOFO letter of support.
      • Sept. 19 agenda items.
        • They will have a discussion about review and rank panels.
        • They will also have someone report on what it was like to be on a panel.
        • They will be reviewing new memberships.
  • Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) presentation.
    • Marcella Lopez-Schmidt:
      • The HMIS will go into effect on Oct. 1.
      • There was a training that was live to members on Sept. 13.
      • HMIS has added new ethnicity and gender options to better align with how people identify themselves.
      • Lopez-Schmidt would like to get in contact with any supervisors who haven’t attended a meeting.
  • County of Fresno update
    • Cynthia Cadenas:
      • The subgrantee agreement for $600,000 for the triage emergency shelter is scheduled to go to the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 19.
      • The first cross-jurisdictional Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) took place on Aug. 28.
      • There is a master lease agreement for 42 units at Monte Vista Terrace. This is also going to the Board of Supervisors on Sept. 19.
        • These units will be a part of a rapid rehousing project.
        • Administered by RH Community Builders.
      • The cash annual reports submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for the fiscal year 2022-2023 reporting period.
        • Total award of around $1.5 million from California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH).
        • The total expenditures from the beginning of the grant on round one was $1.5 million.
        • The total expenditures from the beginning of the grant round two was $619,584.
        • For CESH round one the county was able to serve 658 people, of which 204 were unsheltered.
        • A total of 96 exits to permanent housing reported, with 10 returning to homelessness.
        • For CESH round two, the county received a total reward of $879,000, with $404,000 of expenditures during the reporting period.
        • There were total expenditures of $619,000.
        • For CESH round two, the county has served 141 people, of which 23 were unsheltered, with one exit to permanent housing and o e return to homelessness.
  • City of Fresno update
    • Joe Pasilla:
      • The second mobile shower is back online.
        • They were hoping to post a new flier later in the day and spread it on social media.
      • Fresno has a site in District 2 that is secure.
        • Hoping to start on this site next week but will have to check in with the wastewater commission first.
      • Outreach on mobile showers is going out as of the day of the meeting.
      • They have a youth service request out for approval (RFP), which closed Aug. 29. An RFP review was slated.
      • They are working to have their recommendations go to the council on Oct. 19.
      • A notebook service was posted on Sept. 5.
  • County of Madera update
    • The county’s triage project has seen some delays. It was supposed to go into effect in the fall of this year but now it is scheduled for spring of 2024.
    • The county received crisis stabilization funding back in July and thanked the Continuum of Care for its letter of support.
  • Marjaree Mason Center Update
    • Laura Lopez:
      • 568 hotline call.
      • 225 crisis drop-ins
      • Fresno Police Department served 253 clients.
      • The center staff helped enable 15 restraining orders.
      • There were 218 safety plans completed.
      • Emergency safe houses sheltered 205 adults and children.
      • Transitional housing served 13 adults and children.
      • The center’s rapid re-housing program served 128 adults and children.
  • San Joaquin Valley Veterans update:
    • Beverly Novella
      • Some 114 veterans were served in August.
      • Four veterans were housed in August.
      • 65% of exits went to a permanent destination.
      • Eighteen veterans went into rapid rehousing and 18 veterans exited rapid rehousing.
      • Two veterans went into homeless prevention and eight left homeless prevention.
      • The estimated length of time between the project start date and the housing move-in date is 61 days.
  • Unscheduled announcements.
    • Zaven Kalebjian, Wings Advocacy
      • Wings Advocacy will be merging with the Westcare Foundation. Westcare will be taking over operations, logistics, and financial wings.

Actions/discussions/public comment

  • No major decisions were made or voted on.
  • Dez Martinez asked why she didn’t have access to the Homeless Management Information Systems during the HMIS update.
    • Martinez, homeless advocate:
      • Martinez stated that she had taken the required test to gain access to the systems and was put on hold last month.
        • Moreno clarified that the Continuum of Care is having ongoing discussions about granting access to these systems.
        • Moreno said that there is a lot of sensitive information compiled in the system.
        • The Continuum of Care is looking to re-evaluate access now that there has been a large demand for access where previously there was none.

Conversation highlight

  • “There was a three-year pause … in folks having to renew that was connected to the pandemic – the public health emergency – and that was the case across the country. So people could stay continually enrolled {in Medi-Cal]. The social safety net did what it is supposed to do in emergencies, and people were able to get and maintain critical health care. After that three-year pause, the renewal process is restarting again,” said Alissa Weiss, directing analyst, Homebase. 

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