The Palm Springs City Council unanimously approved a proposal to offer financial assistance to about two dozen area families who qualify for federal housing assistance, but are still unable to afford local rents, forcing them to live on the streets.

Riverside County’s University Health System identified between 20 and 25 Palm Springs families who fall into the unique circumstance of being left homeless despite qualifying for a $926 monthly housing voucher from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to a city staff report.

“It’s actually a big problem within the system,” Councilwoman Christy Holstege said. “Where people wait all this time and they get help and we work so much to get them referrals for help and support, and, once they get it they’re not actually able to use it. So it’s like a roadblock in getting people from homelessness to housing.”

The council voted 5-0 Wednesday to redirect $100,000 from the city’s $4 million housing fund to homeless assistance programs, with Holstege saying the money will help up to 25 families.

The funding will provide about $333 each month per family to cover the gap between federal housing vouchers and the cost of Palm Springs housing, where a one-bedroom apartment averages more than $1,120 a month.

While the $100,000 was redirected from the housing fund immediately, the city still needs to formulate a distribution system for the program before the families will receive the money, Holstege said.

It was unclear how long that process might take.

“We want to move on it quickly since we know there are people who need help right now, who are homeless right now,” she said.

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