In response to Governor Newsom’s plan to help unhoused individuals struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues through a court-ordered program, Housing California issued the following statement:
Housing California appreciates the Governor and State leadership’s desire to address the behavioral health and homelessness crisis so many Californians are facing. The challenge we face today is the result of underfunded systems of care and an affordable housing crisis decades in the making, with a current shortage of 1.2 million affordable homes and the $31 per hour wage required to afford a 1-bedroom home, more than double our state’s minimum wage.
We know what it takes to end homelessness: an affordable place to live with the services and care to help people sustain that housing, support their health, and achieve stability. We also know these services work best when people use them voluntarily, rather than forcibly. It is critical to ensure that efforts to enhance care and expand housing options for people with serious behavioral health conditions, including unhoused people, do not further criminalize them or take away their agency, which we understand is not the intent of this administration.
We look forward to working with the Governor and Administration and many other stakeholders on this proposal and ensuring this is approached through a supportive care model consistent with Housing First to achieve our shared vision of a California where everyone can thrive.
– Chris Martin, Policy Director, Housing California