CA Lawmakers Address Homelessness
JUNE 29, 2016
SACRAMENTO, CA – On the eve of the State Legislature’s final vote on a new multibillion dollar program to confront homelessness, Assembly members Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced a legislative resolution requesting the Governor declare a state of emergency on homelessness and urging statewide coordination and leadership from all parts of government to confront homelessness. The Assembly will vote on the item tomorrow.
“California is too prosperous a state for so many to suffer from homelessness,” said Santiago, Majority Whip of the State Assembly, who represents the notorious Skid Row of Los Angeles. “The homeless are parents, children, and veterans. They need our help to get off the street and succeed in life. We will not end their suffering until we think differently and commit to action, as an emergency requires.”
“San Francisco has invested billions serving our homeless population at the same time federal funding has been cut,” said Ting, who serves as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. “Homelessness has become a regional and statewide issue and, with other cities not stepping up to the plate, San Francisco has had to shoulder a huge burden. We need a statewide solution to help people get into housing and services rather than have each city go it alone.”
The announcement of House Resolution (HR) 56 comes on the eve of the State Legislature’s final vote on the creation of the “No Place Like Home Program,” which would distribute $2 billion to counties in order to finance supportive housing for the mentally ill who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This new commitment will augment significant resources already dedicated in the state budget signed by the Governor on Monday to prevent and reduce homelessness. A copy of the resolution is available online at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov.
In March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging Governor Brown to declare a state of emergency on homelessness. Earlier this month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also passed a resolution urging Brown to take such action.
“I want to commend the State Assembly for answering our call to take the homelessness crisis right to the governor,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The time for action is now and it’s time for leadership to prevail, if we are to succeed in addressing the most compelling social issue confronting Californians.”
There are over 115,000 homeless in California, by far the most of any state. There are nearly 47,000 homeless in Los Angeles and over 7,500 homeless in San Francisco.
According to a 2015 survey, 29 percent of San Francisco’s homeless population initially became homeless outside of San Francisco. Last year, the City Attorney of San Francisco settled a lawsuit with the State of Nevada inspired by the practices of its premier psychiatric hospital in Las Vegas which, as revealed in a 2013 investigation by The Sacramento Bee, bought 1,500 homeless patients bus tickets to other states. A third were sent to California, landing in major cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Sacramento, and San Francisco.