Senator McGuire joins bipartisan legislative coalition introducing budget proposal to tackle homelessness

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sacramento, CA – Senator Mike McGuire joined a bipartisan coalition of State Senators, including Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, on Monday morning introducing the “No Place Like Home” initiative, which will greatly assist communities across the state in tackling homelessness.

“Homelessness, especially the lack of resources for housing and services, is a growing crisis across California. Whether it’s downtown LA on Skid Row, or downtown Eureka, local communities are lacking the funding they need to implement the housing programs and services local communities need and rely on,” Senator McGuire said. “In many of the communities of the North Coast, there is a crisis every day, with little or no resources to turn to.”

The multi-pronged initiative would provide both immediate and long-term resources for chronically homeless individuals and families. “No Place Like Home” is a budget proposal that will go through the legislative process for approval.

The $2 billion revenue bond would be paid partially from Prop. 63 Mental Health Services Account (MHSA) funds. Prop 63 would be amended to set aside just $135 million (only 7 percent of its annual revenue) to pay off the $2 billion revenue bond. 

During press conferences announcing the innovative proposal, Senator McGuire addressed the inconsistencies in state support of homeless services, including grant funding for transitional and emergency housing in communities along the North Bay and North Coast.

“Mendocino County, as an example, has the second highest rate of homelessness in America, according to National Alliance to End Homelessness, yet over the last two years, no state dollars have been invested in Mendocino County, or any county north of Sonoma for that matter to help some of our state’s poorest communities provide desperately needed emergency shelter space to the thousands who live on the streets of the North Coast,” Senator McGuire said. “And to make matters worse, county jails and local emergency rooms have been the only resource many communities have to house those who are homeless and who struggle with mental illness and this is totally unacceptable.”

Senator McGuire also announced that he will host a Summit on Homeless Services in northern California this spring to coordinate with counties and local non-profits that serve the homeless community as “No Place Like Home” moves through the legislative process. More details on the summit will be available later this month.

“No Place Like Home” was officially outlined Monday morning by a bipartisan coalition of State Senators, led by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon. The state leaders said, this year, the Senate is focused on policies that lift up all Californians, especially the least fortunate and most vulnerable among us. While housing and mental health services are governed by local governments, the State Legislature will directly focus on providing assistance to better manage existing resources and assist local governments through incentives for creating and maintaining permanent housing essential to reducing homelessness.

With this budget proposal, the state will now secure progress on tackling homelessness through an unprecedented amount of funding support and expansion of programs to make services more accessible on the ground.