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June 21, 2016

Calif. Legislators Craft $2 Billion Plan to House Homeless

Facing a rising tide of homelessness in otherwise booming regions, California lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on a proposal to channel $2 billion into building permanent housing for the homeless, writes the Associated Press.

The proposal, crafted by state Senate Democrats and supported by Gov. Jerry Brown, would fund at least 14,000 units, according to legislative analysts, and reflects the national shift toward a “housing first” strategy that favors long-term residential solutions over shelters and transitional services for the homeless.

The effort would be funded through the Mental Health Services Act, a measure approved by voters in 2004 that raised state income taxes on millionaires by 1 percent. Up to 6.5 percent of the mental-health fund would be diverted annually to service debt on the housing construction. A quarter of the more than 115,000 homeless people counted in California last year had a serious mental illness, according to federal figures.