California State Budget Expands Funding for Housing the Homeless

On June 27, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the 2018-2019 State Budget, which included new measures geared towards reducing homelessness.

One such measure is the creation of a $500 million fund dedicated to supporting local efforts to combat chronic homelessness. Of the $500 million, $350 million will be available to Continuums of Care, a series of individual community programs. The remaining $150 million will be directly distributed to California’s 11 largest cities (any city with a population over 330,000). The state will release NOFAs for Emergency Aid Block Grants this summer, and will commence distributing this funding in the fall.

In addition to this fund, this year’s California State Budget increases the scope and potential of the Homeless Coordination and Financing Council. It is moving from the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to the California Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency (BCSH). The expansion includes adding several staff members and a few more managing council leaders. These new council leaders include a homeless youth representative, a CalTrans representative, and the BCSH Secretary. Interested citizens can subscribe to e-mail updates from the Homeless Coordination and Financing Council at this link.

More steps towards progress are taken with the path of the fledging No Place Like Home Program, a proposed $2 billion funding initiative to provide permanent supportive housing for individuals suffering from chronic homelessness. Its funding comes from bonds to be paid with money previously allocated by the Mental Health Services Act. The Budget announcement has announced that this program will be placed on the State ballot for the November 2018 Election. Despite the fund’s possible public strike-down, 2 NOFAs will be announced later this year. The first NOFA, being released this summer, will allocate $200 million to non-competitive projects in line with the objectives of the initiative.

California is responsibly utilizing its relatively healthy finances to develop affordable housing projects in a solid push to solve its homelessness crisis. To see further details regarding state spending, the full budget summary can be found here.