SACRAMENTO – A proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness asks the Legislature to put a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would force California cities and counties to take steps to provide housing for the more than 150,000 Californians who lack it or potentially face legal action.
As the homeless crisis continues to sweep the state, the Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors issued a report discussing the proposed amendment. The potential bill states that it will “provide that an individual with a physical or mental disability covered by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) includes a person who has completed, or is in the process of completing, a supervised rehabilitation program to end illegal drug use, has been otherwise successfully rehabilitated, or who is erroneously regarded as engaging in illegal drug use.”
Graham Knaus, executive director of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC), said that making progress on the issue will require assistance from all levels of government.
Graham Knaus, executive director of the California State Association of Counties | California State Association of Counties
“Counties are the service providers in our communities and will continue to lead to tackle the crisis of our time, homelessness," he said in a statement. "The state, counties and cities have made strides but more is needed to build on the existing system. We all have a stake and responsibility; and solutions must balance responsibilities with the resources, authority and accountability to ensure success.
“Progress on homelessness requires all levels of government to step up and deliver. Counties appreciate the leadership of the Governor and the Council of Homelessness Advisors and are prepared to collaboratively charge ahead thoughtfully and aggressively to make progress on homelessness.”
Cities throughout the state have struggled to successfully address a homeless population that has steadily grown with each passing year over the past decade. Politicians and leaders on all sides have searched for answers to end what has become a burden to many communities, failing to settle on agreeable solutions.
“Action is required now to address immediate and long-term challenges around homelessness," Graham said. "The governor’s proposal and the council recommendations are big and bold steps towards progress. Counties particularly support the focus on strengthening Board and Care, leveraging CalAIM, and enhancing SSI/SSP. We must also increase emergency housing and shelter capacity along with policy reforms. A legally enforceable mandate can only work with clarity of who’s obligated to do what and what new sustainable resources will fund it; that’s the ticket for clear expectations and accountability.”