California Big 11 Mayors applaud unprecedented action to address homelessness in State budget agreement

Sacramento, CA – Mayors of California’s largest 11 cities announced Monday, June 11, that Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders reached an unprecedented agreement to directly address the homeless crisis in the state. The budget agreement includes $500 million to the Homeless Emergency Aid Program, which will fund immediate solutions to get people off the streets. The budget deal also includes $200 million for existing programs, enhanced outreach, and resources for homeless youth and seniors.

Since January, the Big 11 have worked with legislative leaders, the administration and local government representatives to advocate for a meaningful investment to combat the statewide homeless crisis. Throughout their advocacy, Big 11 Mayors maintained that cities should receive state funding because they are on the front lines of the homeless crisis. They also argued that resources allocated to this issue must be flexible enough for cities to deploy solutions that best fit their communities.

Nearly half of California’s 135,000 homeless people reside in the state’s biggest 11 cities. Half of all the country’s homeless are in California.

“I commend Governor Jerry Brown, state legislative leaders and Assembly member Phil Ting for rising to this moment and directly confronting the homeless crisis in the state,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who serves as Chairman of the Big 11 Mayors. “Our big cities are the front lines of this crisis and these new state resources will allow us to increase our emergency shelter capacity, rental assistance programs, and clinically trained outreach that will have immediate impact in human lives.”

This agreement prioritizes immediate relief in the form of building new shelters, expanding supportive services and emergency solutions that will take thousands off the streets. The agreement also includes additional investments into outreach and programs that help people experiencing homelessness access housing, mental health services and other supportive services to end their cycle of homelessness. Additional funding for seniors, domestic violence shelters, homeless youth and mentally ill homeless show the state government’s desire to partner with local governments on finding a comprehensive approach to the growing problem.

The Homeless Emergency Aid package includes $500 million in immediate assistance and more than $200 million in additional investment.

The $500 million investment in the Homeless Emergency Aid program will be allocated in the following ways: 1) $250 million to Continuums of Care (CoCs) – which are local entities responsible for administering federal dollars to address homelessness – based on groupings described in the Governor’s May Revise; 2) $150 million split among cities with 330,000 or more people, based on their proportional share of homelessness and; 3) $100 million to CoCs based on their proportional share of the statewide homeless population.

Other members of the Big 11 also commented on the historic budget agreement:

“Governor Brown and the Legislature are stepping up in a big way, with funding that will help cities accelerate the work of putting an end to the humanitarian crisis on our streets,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “I am grateful for the commitment and compassion represented by those dollars. We are making historic investments in the emergency bridge shelter, long-term supportive housing, and services that people in desperate need are counting on to begin rebuilding their lives — and the spirit of shared responsibility shown in Sacramento today will bring new resources and hope to Los Angeles and communities across California. This is exactly what we need, exactly at the right time.”

“Homelessness is a statewide crisis with needs far greater than can be addressed by cities on their own,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This state funding will go a long way toward turning people’s lives around by bolstering programs and facilities already showing promising results. Thank you to state leaders for standing with us and adding significant resources in the budget to tackle the problem.”

“I thank our state leaders for investing in our cities’ efforts to confront the growing homelessness crisis,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo. “In San Jose, these dollars will enable us to get a shovel in the ground to quickly and cost-effectively house more of our homeless neighbors.”

“Governor Brown understands that homelessness is not an issue that stops at city borders or town lines,” said San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell. “These issues are facing cities throughout California and addressing the root cause of homelessness requires a comprehensive approach and partnerships between our state and local leaders. I applaud Governor Brown for realizing the depth of this crisis and committing funds to support crucial programs that will help us collectively tackle these challenges.”

“Homelessness is a growing challenge here in Fresno and across California,” said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand. “I want to thank the Legislature for making these funds available that will help jumpstart our new, comprehensive community plan to address the crisis locally. We will not rest until everyone has a place to call home.”

“Long Beach has seen great success in addressing homelessness and leveraging funds to support people experiencing homelessness in our community,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “Homelessness is the moral obligation of our generation. We must solve it, and we are making progress. We thank the State for providing support to cities to continue building infrastructure and capacity to serve those still experiencing homelessness.”

“Oakland will now receive a direct line of funding from the state to help address the crisis and human suffering on our city’s streets caused by homelessness,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Joining with California’s largest cities made Oakland’s voice louder and stronger, and I am grateful for our partners in Sacramento who heard and answered the call.”

“Thank you to the Governor and the Legislature for their swift action in answering the call and providing these resources, which are so critically needed,” said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh. “This is a big victory for all who will utilize this funding to assist the most vulnerable citizens in their communities.”

“This commitment recognizes the leading role California cities are playing in changing the lives of those struggling with homelessness in our state,” said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait. “We applaud our state partners for their leadership, innovation and investment in Anaheim and other cities to confront what is the defining issue of our time.”

“The City of Santa Ana has been at the front line addressing Orange County’s homeless population for decades,” said Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido. “The Homeless Emergency Aid resources will be instrumental both at a local level and across the state towards the implementation of programs to assist some of our most vulnerable residents. I applaud our state leaders for hearing our concerns and responding through such an unprecedented action.” 

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