While the details of the proposal remain under development, the League views the Senate leader’s proposal as a positive outline for a much needed funding solution to help mentally ill homeless men, women and children into shelters and housing while connecting them with mental health services, addiction treatment, job training and other needed services.
There are about 116,000 homeless people in California, accounting for 21 percent of the nation’s homeless population, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The state saw the second-largest increase in homelessness between 2014 and 2015. California’s cities and counties are on the front lines of a crisis worsened by cuts in federal and state funding for affordable housing, the loss of local redevelopment agencies and other key programs. Cities are struggling to identify resources and need flexible funding to build on proven best practices and innovative solutions that meet the needs of the homeless people in their communities.
Sen. de León’s proposal would provide much-needed assistance, League President and Rancho Cucamonga Mayor L. Dennis Michael said.
“We really like the concepts Sen. de León has put forward, so we want to indicate our support for his efforts,” said Michael. “California cities are at ground zero of the state’s homelessness crisis and need concrete solutions and financial support from the state such as the No Place Like Home Initiative. It proposes to combine significant state funding with local innovation to help the homeless with emergency and permanent supportive housing. This issue can only be solved when cities have the flexibility to work collaboratively with their regional local government partners, nonprofits and faith-based institutions. This proposal is a giant step in the right direction.”
The No Place Like Home Initiative takes a constructive approach by proposing to help the homeless through supportive services and providing at-risk low-income Californians with assistance. It would create an estimated 10,000-plus housing units throughout the state, according to Sen. de León. Funding for the $2 billion proposal would come from Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act.
The League’s board of directors this week also endorsed policies supporting funding for homelessness prevention programs and first responder training, promoting regional cooperation, and making housing placement a priority of programs that discharge people from care or incarceration.
The League’s board of directors took action on Sen. de León’s proposal during its regularly scheduled meeting in Ontario.