Area homeless population up, funds available to homeless veterans

A nearly 13 percent jump in the county homeless population is a symptom of at-capacity service providers, say officials.

The annual homeless count found 1,299 men, women and children living in shelters, parks and other spots in the county, an increase from 1,152 in 2017. The numbers reflect a new tactic in the homeless count, which employed the use of social service providers joining law enforcement officials to count individuals living in the Santa Clara and Ventura riverbeds.

Most cities in the county saw an increase in the homeless population, with the exception of Moorpark, Oxnard and Thousand Oaks, which all saw decreases. Ventura saw the biggest increase due in part to the city hosting the winter warming shelter, which alternates between Ventura and Oxnard. Oxnard saw the second-highest population.
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, announced on Friday, April 13, that nearly $329,000 in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program has been procured to help homeless veterans living in Ventura County find permanent housing.

The Area Housing Authority of the County of Ventura will receive $97,781, and the Housing Authority, City of San Buenaventura, will receive $231,180 as part of the HUD-VASH program.

“Even with the funds to assist with monthly rent, the challenge is locating private landlords with available rental units willing to participate,” said Michael Nigh, Executive Director of the Area Housing Authority of the County of Ventura. “Our goal is to work with the Oxnard and San Buenaventura housing authorities, the Veterans Administration, the landlord community and the Ventura County Continuum of Care to best serve our local veterans with these vouchers.”

County Supervisors present Earth Day awards

Five environmental champions from Ventura County have been honored by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, April 17, for their green efforts.

Each supervisor chose a recipient from his or her district.

Supervisor Steve Bennet, District 1, selected The Thacher School for being a leader in “sustainable practices” and for preparingits students to “take action … and act as lifelong stewards of the planet,” also noting its achievements, which include generating 95 percent of the school’s energy from a recently installed 745-kilowatt solar array and “completion of a horse manure and food waste composting facility, eliminating the trucking off campus of 1,200 tons of manure and instead composting it on-site for use as mulch.”

Supervisor Linda Parks, District 2, selected the Ventura County Watershed Protection District’s Raptor Pilot Study, which found natural alternatives to using anticoagulant rodenticides in the watershed, which can poison area wildlife.

Supervisor Kelly Long, District 3, chose the Hedrick Ranch Nature Area Restoration Project, which “stabilized approximately 1,000 linear feet of stream bank, removed invasive plant species and re-established native riparian vegetation on approximately 16 acres of land,” under the stewardship of the Friends of the Santa Clara River.

Supervisor Peter Foy, District 4, highlighted the Rustic Canyon Golf Course’s Water Reclamation Project, a partnership of the golf course with various state and local agencies, “to install a recycled water pipeline and booster pump station that deliver over 135 million gallons of recycled water from the reclamation facility to the golf course and other customers.”

Supervisor John Zaragoza, District 5, chose the Wishtoyo Chumash Foundation, pointing out the Foundation’s recent “White Paper, Agritoxins: Ventura County’s Toxic Time Bomb” report on occupational health hazards for the county’s migrant workers.

Sheriff busts illegal marijuana operation in Camarillo

Operators of a marijuana cultivating scheme in Camarillo can expect high time in county jail after the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department on March 22 busted the crew in an industrial area of the city.

The West County Street Narcotics team were alerted to a possible commercial cultivation operation at the 800 block of Calle Plano after the Ventura County Fire Department and Camarillo Police deputies responded to a false fire alarm.

The operation was described as “sophisticated,” deputies seizing 700 plants. The building was then red-tagged, deemed unsafe due to alterations that appeared to have been made to ready the location for the growing operation.

Suspects have been identified but no arrests have yet been made.

Also, on April 12, detectives and members of the traffic unit with the Ventura Police Department served search and arrest warrants at 5755 Valentine Road, an illegal medical marijuana dispensary dubbed Canna Nuts.

With the passage of Proposition 64, titled “The Adult Use of Marijuana Act”, possession and use of recreational marijuana became legal in California for people over 21-years-old beginning January of 2018. The proprietor of the business, Janice Stabile, however, did not have a state license through the Bureau of Cannabis Control or a city business license. The commercial sale of marijuana remains illegal within the Ventura city limits in accordance to municipal laws.

Detectives, which also searched her house, seized over four pounds of marijuana, two firearms, and approximately $128,000 in cash. Stabile was booked at the Ventura County Jail.