Gov. Gavin Newsom visited a homeless encampment in downtown San Diego on January 12 and highlighted his California Blueprint, a plan to tackle "existential threats," including the housing crisis, through a proposed $286.4 billion budget.
The California Blueprint proposed an additional $2 billion package -- for a total of $14 billion -- to the state's multi-year plan to confront the homelessness crisis, which is intended to create 55,000 new housing units and treatment slots when fully implemented.
The California Blueprint is intended to bolster last year's investments with an additional $1.5 billion for behavioral health bridge housing to get people off the street and into treatment, and $500 million toward "encampment resolution grants for local jurisdictions to implement short- and long-term rehousing strategies for people experiencing homelessness in encampments around the state,'' a statement from the governor's office read.
"The California Blueprint will double down on those efforts, focusing on clearing encampments, while also setting the groundwork for long- term systemic change with significant investments in mental health and substance abuse treatment to get vulnerable people off the streets”, Newsom said.
Newsom's proposal includes expansion of the Returning Home Well program, intended to provide transitional housing and mental health services to people leaving prison or jail. Additionally, it calls for expanding Medi-Cal benefits to include mobile crisis response -- investing $1.4 billion over five years so that people experiencing homelessness can receive behavioral health care.
"Behavioral health and homelessness are inextricably linked, and we have the chance to invest in the former to help prevent the latter,'' state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. "Governor Newsom's proposal will help expand access to housing and medical support for vulnerable populations with complex behavioral health conditions and people living in encampments.''
The governor said he understands taxpayer frustration at the homelessness crisis, but asked for patience. He said many people on the streets deal with addiction, and they will not be admitted to shelters unless they are sober, creating a difficult-to-solve issue through the old shelter system.
Background Information: Governor Newsom Signed Historic Housing and Homelessness Funding Package as part of $100 Billion California Comeback Plan. The package included $10.3 billion for affordable housing and $12 billion over two years towards tackling the homelessness crisis head-on – helping tens of thousands of people off the streets while also demanding greater accountability and more urgency from local governments. The new homelessness funding included $5.8 billion to add 42,000 new housing units through Homekey – a national model for homeless housing. $3 billion of this investment is dedicated to housing for people with the most acute behavioral and physical health needs.
STATE POLICY HAS LOCAL IMPACT! BOSS has identified more than one empty property in the East Bay that we are trying to raise funds for, in order to rehabilitate them for occupancy: Homekey funds are one such source of potential funds and are critical to local housing development efforts.