According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, California currently has the highest percentage of homeless people in the nation. In 2015, while California comprised 12 percent of the United States’ population, it had 21 percent of the nation’s homeless.
However, as the homeless population in California increases, government funding to help the homeless has been decreased in the state. This decrease in funding particularly affects the CLARE Foundation and other non-profit organizations in their ability to provide services, especially mental health services, to the homeless population.
Governor Jerry Brown recently introduced a plan that would dedicate a $2 billion bond to address homelessness in the state. The monies would be allocated at the local levels, as cities see fit.
The governor says housing production is decreasing as demand is increasing, forcing more and more people onto the streets.
However, some people are not in favor of the governor’s proposal. As it appears the funding will come from monies raised by Prop 63, money that is supposed to be earmarked for programs for the mentally ill, some are concerned that the mentally ill will pay the price.
In Los Angeles, where homelessness has seen a five percent increase this year, some politicians have suggested the state create a “Millionaire’s Tax.” The tax would bring in an estimated $250 to 300 million; which would go a long way towards finding solutions to the homeless situation in California.
While Los Angeles County has approved a plan to combat homelessness, the funding has not been put into place. The county has allocated $100 million dollars to homelessness, but they lack the revenue to fund both mental health and anti-poverty programs long-term. The county believes the Millionaire’s Tax could fund these programs and solve the problem.
The tax may be a popular idea among the voters, but both the governor and the legislature would have to agree to the tax, and that may never happen.
Department of Finance Report
According to a new Department of Finance report, there are now 1.5 million low-income California households. These people pay over 50 percent of their income in rent, which decreases their ability to afford other household expenses and services, such as medical treatments. Additionally, the report cites the lack of adequate housing as a cause of homelessness and this shortage of appropriate housing has inflated the cost of housing throughout the state, forcing more and more people into shelters and onto the streets.
According to the California Department of Finance, the cost of living in Los Angeles is rising so quickly that it is only exacerbating the problem.
The CLARE Foundation is being particularly hit hard with this decrease in funding. Our non-profit organization provides mental health services to the community, as well as support and substance abuse prevention programs to families.
At the Clare Foundation, it is our hope that government funding will be continued for our programs, and other like it, so we may continue to provide valuable assistance to the growing homeless population in our state. Please contact us for further information.