HOUSING AND TREATMENT FOR VETS, MENTAL HEALTH, ADDICTION
Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking support for a 2024 ballot measure that would fund housing and treatment for Californians struggling with addictions and mental illness, as part of a larger plan to fight homelessness.
Part of the funds would be set aside under the proposal to house over 10,000 homeless veterans, according to reporting by the Associated Press.
The measure would provide funding to construct “campus style” residential facilities, providing treatment and housing to over 10,000 people a year.
“This is the next step in our transformation of how California addresses mental illness, substance use disorder and homelessness,” said Newsom in a statement.
California’s population is nearly 40 million, including almost one-third of the country’s homeless. Estimates are that 171,000 Californians were un-housed in 2022.
The state’s homeless population is growing far more rapidly than that of other states, according to a study of federal data conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Recent polls show that despite growth in recent years, the state’s population is dropping as Californians leave to find more affordable housing and better quality of life elsewhere.
State Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, is to introduce the measure as an overhaul of the existing Mental Health Services Act. Lawmakers criticized that legislation, enacted in 2004, for failure to allocate the money to those who needed it.
“Modernizing it [Mental Health Services Act] will lead to $1 billion every year for housing, treating substance abuse disorders, and more,” said a statement from the governor’s office.
Newsom is to provide more details later, highlighting major policy goals, The governor has already announced a plan to spend $30 million to build small homes across the state in an attempt to cheaply and quickly help people off the streets, reported AP.
The measure comes at a challenging time, as the state is currently at an estimated $22.5 billion dollar deficit.
Recent polls show that half of California voters perceive the heavily Democratic state as headed in the wrong direction, according to AP.