State Budget Passed in Senate Continues Forward Progress on Housing and Homelessness

SACRAMENTO – The fiscal year 2018-19 state budget approved by the Senate this week makes major investments in housing and homelessness throughout California, building on the momentum generated in 2017 with the passage of a landmark package of 15 housing bills.

“The severe housing crisis in California persists, and as long as it does, so will the Legislature’s commitment to solving it,” said Senate Leader Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). “Homelessness throughout our state is a humanitarian catastrophe, and we are sending considerable resources to our local communities to bring people who are struggling into safe and stable housing.”

In addition to an estimated $250 million generated by SB 2 – the 2017 bill, authored by Atkins, that created a permanent source of funding for affordable housing – the 2018-19 budget includes $608.8 million in General Fund resources to combat homelessness. The bulk of those funds will be allocated through the new Emergency Aid Block Grant program, which provides $500 million, to be distributed as follows:

  • $350 million to Continuums of Care, with allocations based on data collected through the 2017 Point-in-Time count of people experiencing homelessness, with $17.5 million dedicated to serving homeless youth.
  • $150 million directly to cities that have populations of more than 330,000 and meet certain requirements based on their regional proportion of the statewide total of the 2017 Point-in-Time Count.

“15,000 homeless youth, almost 40 percent of whom are LGBTQ, are living on California’s streets every night,” said Senator Scott Wiener, author of Senate Bill 918 to increase California’s focus on youth homelessness. “We have a moral obligation to do everything in our power to help these young people get off the streets and on track with their lives. The $17.5 million dedicated to homeless youth in this budget nearly triples the state’s commitment to these young people. I am extremely grateful to our leadership, our Budget Committee, and the Governor for helping us take this important step.”

The remaining $108.8 million will be distributed to programs overseen by the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Department of Health Care Services. Collectively, these programs will benefit transition-aged youth, domestic-violence victims, CalWORKs families, seniors and individuals with serious mental illness who are either at risk of homelessness or currently experiencing homelessness.

“This budget investment gives our communities more ability to open emergency shelters and increase homeless housing and supportive services, so fewer Californians have to live in tents and on sidewalks,” said Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley).

The budget also includes funding for No Place Like Home, a $2 billion program to create permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals who suffer from mental illness. The program will be on the November 2018 ballot for voter approval.

Furthermore, for three years beginning in fiscal year 2019-20, a portion of Proposition 2 infrastructure funds, estimated at $300 million each year, will be appropriated for the Multifamily Housing Program, which supports the development of affordable housing.

These actions do not include proceeds from SB 3, the 2017 bill authored by Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) that placed a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot. If approved by voters, the measure will generate an additional $4 billion for affordable housing, $1 billion of which will go toward veteran homeownership.

“The 135,000 men, women, and children who have no place to live need help now,” said Senator Jim Beall (D-San Jose). “Under this budget, cities and counties will quickly receive flexible funding for programs that they have tailored for their own communities. These investments combined with the potential passage of the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act in November ups the ante in the fight to end homelessness and puts more money on the table to boost California’s affordable housing stock.”

Atkins praised Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chair Jim Beall, Budget Conference Committee Member Nancy Skinner, Budget Subcommittee No. 4 Chair Richard Roth, and Budget Committee Chair Holly J. Mitchell and for their leadership on affordable housing and homelessness, and thanked Gov. Jerry Brown and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendón for their hard work and partnership on this year’s budget.

Website of President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins: www.senate.ca.gov/Atkins

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