FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 4, 2016
CONTACT: Bill Bird @ 916-651-4029
Huff Embraces “No Place Like Home” Initiative
Broad and Bi-Partisan Effort Aimed at Reducing Homelessness
SACRAMENTO: Senate Minority Leader Emeritus Bob Huff (R-San Dimas) is throwing his full support behind a broad and bi-partisan Senate effort to find effective methods to address the problem of homelessness in our local communities and explore new and innovative tactics to prevent it. Senator Huff appeared at a news conference earlier today in Los Angeles in support of the initiative with several other lawmakers, including Senate President pro-Tem Kevin de León.
“Announcing a major effort like this in front of The Star Apartments on Skid Row in Los Angeles should demonstrate the depth of this problem and the resolve of lawmakers to address it with innovative strategies that haven’t been pursued as strongly in the past,” said Senator Huff. “It’s a travesty that a state as rich as California, with the 8th largest economy in the world, is also home to the nation’s largest homeless population. 114,000 men, women and children are homeless in California. Los Angeles County has earned the dubious reputation as the nation’s homeless capital, with nearly 42,000 homeless residents.”
There are two main components of the “No Place Like Home” initiative: Housing and Income Supports and Outreach. The housing component calls for investing $2 billion in bond funding to construct permanent and supportive housing for chronically homeless persons with mental illness. It’s estimated that the investment will result in 10,000 to 14,000 units of housing for the homeless. The housing plan also contains a $200 million investment, over four years, to provide supportive housing in the short-term while permanent housing is built or renovated. It’s estimated that this will produce about 4,000 units of short-term housing.
The Income Supports and Outreach component of the initiative would increase Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and State Supplementary Payment (SSP) grants, both of which provide income supports for the aged, blind and disabled poor who cannot work. These increases will assist about 1.3 million low-income Californians, many of whom suffer from disabilities or are elderly.
“It’s well known that rates of homelessness are much higher for Californians with disabilities who cannot work or the elderly,” said Senator Huff. “Both SSI and SSP are intended to help people live comfortable and productive lives, and we already know that a large portion of these grants goes toward housing.”
The “No Place Like Home” initiative will not increase taxes. Under the plan revealed during today’s news conference, the $2 billion revenue bond will be paid from Proposition 63 Mental Health Service Account (MHSA) funds, which voters approved in 2004. Proposition 63 would be amended by the Legislature, which is permitted under the measure, to set aside $135 million of annual revenues to pay off the $2 billion revenue bond.
Senator Huff is hopeful the initiative will be enacted by the State Legislature during 2016-2017 budget negotiations in June.
Senator Huff represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.