New Law Forces Counties To Fix Homelessness

Even though Governor Gavin Newsom spent millions on his campaign, Proposition 1 in California barely passed. The proposition authorizes $6.38 billion in bonds to construct mental health facilities and additional homes for those with mental health, drug, or alcohol difficulties. It also obliges counties to address the homelessness epidemic.

With $1 billion in funding, the program—also called Treatment Not Tents—would construct enough homes to house more than 11,000 people, focusing on homeless veterans. Additionally, more money would be available for mental health specialists to aid the public. Housing and other programs for those experiencing homelessness and mental health concerns would have to receive two-thirds of the revenues from a tax on millionaires that was introduced in 2004 to pay for the increased spending. The idea’s detractors point out that rural counties would have to fork up the same amount of money as cities like San Francisco, which might exacerbate the situation.

California is home to around one-third of the nation’s homeless people, making homelessness a significant problem there. The state requires an additional 8,000 beds to address addiction and mental health concerns, with its present inventory standing at 5,500 beds. A political priority for Governor Newsom, the issue of homelessness has received a budget of at least $22 billion for different initiatives to resolve the epidemic.

For those experiencing homelessness due to severe mental illness or drug misuse issues, the proposition mandates that counties allocate a substantial portion of the funds from a tax on millionaires for mental health services, which was passed by the voters in 2004, towards housing and related initiatives. Additionally, the initiative permits the state to borrow $6.38 billion to construct 4,350 housing units, with half of those units set aside for veterans, and add 6,800 beds to treat mental health and addiction disorders. Some Californians, however, are worried about the state’s impending multibillion-dollar budget shortfall and are becoming more irritated with Newsom’s government, which has spent billions to reduce homelessness without producing significant results. The measure’s narrow victory may indicate that Democratic leaders in Sacramento will face more challenges as they continue to discuss which bond initiatives will be included on the November ballot.