SACRAMENTO– Assemblywoman Luz Rivas (D-Arleta) introduced legislation to create California’s first State Office on Homelessness. Assembly Bill (AB) 1845 creates a Secretary on Housing Insecurity and Homelessness to oversee the Office to End Homelessness, which will include the Homeless Coordinating and Financing Council and be located within the Governor’s Office.
AB 1845 will require state department/agency staff to work closely to: standardize housing and services rooted in evidence-based housing, services models and standard agreement requirements, fund housing navigation for people at risk of homelessness upon discharge from state-funded institutions, issue funding to local jurisdictions through a unified funding application, and issue applications in consideration of timing of federal funding, to create a seamless process.
“This Governor and Legislature are leading the effort to solve the State’s homeless crisis and we have shown our commitment by appropriating billions of dollars to tackle homelessness. Despite these efforts, recent reports show that there is ongoing and rapid rise in homelessness,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas. “With the growing number of children, families, and individuals continuously falling into homelessness, California must significantly alter its current approach to coordinating services between our state, federal, and local governments. Our existing approach to homelessness has failed to keep pace with the increasing numbers of those becoming homeless.”
“This has truly reached a human health and safety crisis tipping point,” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas.
According to the Annual Homeless Report issued by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, the California homeless population has increased by 16.4% or 21,306 individuals in the last year alone. According to a report conducted by University of California, Los Angeles, there are at least 200,000 homeless children in California.
“At this point, our response to homelessness has been all spokes and no hub” said Assemblywoman Luz Rivas referring to the fact that the state has no central entity with the resources, authority, or the coordination that is required to effectively curb the rise in homelessness. “We know these programs are not as effective as they could be, and that we could be reaching a greater amount of people. By creating a designated office that coordinates communication and partnerships between our state departments and agencies, and with our local governments, the state can bolster its efforts to help communities that are struggling to respond on a local level.”
“California gets big things done when we work together. To do that, we need to be organized and coordinated-and when it comes to ending homelessness, that is crucial now more than ever. In 2018, California funded more than two dozen different programs at half a dozen different state departments, and Californians cannot afford for bureaucracy to leave their neighbors unsheltered. That’s why Housing California is proud to sponsor the effort of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas to create an Office to End Homelessness. Working arm in arm with Governor Newsom’s administration and stakeholders around the state, we’ll create a single focal point, channeling efforts through a team held accountable, providing the leadership and direction Californians need. This reform is essential to achieving our goal of ensuring all Californians have an affordable place to call home,” said Christopher Martin, Legislative Advocate, Housing California.
“CSH is thrilled to be working with Assemblywoman Luz Rivas on this important bill. We know from other states‘ experiences that strengthening our leadership structure and coordinating our resources will not only make our taxpayer dollars stretch further, but will also ensure each dollar is going toward solutions we know work to end homelessness. We applaud Assemblymember Rivas and her staff for continuing to prioritize Californians experiencing homelessness,” said Sharon Rapport, Director of California State Policy, Corporation for Supportive Housing.
Assemblywoman Rivas proudly represents the 39th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Arleta, Lake View Terrace, Granada Hills, Mission Hills, North Hollywood, Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar, and San Fernando.