To help address homelessness, Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) has announced that the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has awarded $2.5 million to Orange and San Diego counties to fund various programs.
“Homelessness is a growing problem in many communities that demands attention and action from our state government,” said Senator Bates, a member of the Senate Housing Committee and former social worker. “Thanks to these state grants, the Counties of Orange and San Diego will have additional resources to help more of our neighbors who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. I commend the California Department of Housing and Community Development for recognizing the needs in the 36th Senate District and beyond.”
Funding for the grants comes from the HCD-administered California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH) program. CESH funds may be used for five primary activities: housing relocation and stabilization services (including rental assistance), operating subsidies for permanent housing, flexible housing subsidy funds, operating support for emergency housing interventions, and systems support for homelessness services and housing delivery systems.
The allocation of program funds is noncompetitive, formula-driven, and based on a variety of factors including poverty rates and the number of homeless. The County of Orange will receive $1.1 million and the County of San Diego will receive $1.4 million to fund various activities related to homelessness.
Senator Bates has long engaged in efforts to reduce homelessness through a variety of approaches. For example, she co-authored AB 448 (Daly, 2018) to establish the Orange County Housing Finance Trust, which is a public-private effort to reduce homelessness by developing permanent supportive housing. Governor Brown signed this bill into law.
She also authored SB 486 this year to end “patient brokering” in recovery residences, where men and women with addiction issues in other states have been recruited to California facilities through offers for free travel, rent, cigarettes, and even manicures. Upon arrival to the treatment facilities and sober living homes, the patients frequently find they have been deceived, and are merely pawns in a profit scheme, resulting in chronic relapses, overdoses, and their release into local communities.
In 2017, Senator Bates authored SB 392 that would provide grants to non-profit organizations that assist individuals receiving CalWORKs benefits in achieving economic independence. It would require that such organizations maintain a sober environment for the people they serve. SB 392 failed to advance from the State Assembly.
In 2016, Senator Bates voted for the “No Place Like Home” legislation to provide $2 billion for the housing and treatment of Californians with mental illness. The plan – signed by Governor Brown – includes funding negotiated by Republicans to help homeless youth and veterans, along with accountability measures to ensure funds are spent properly. The funds come from Proposition 63, which was passed by voters in 2004 to provide treatment for people with mental illness.