Highlights on Homelessness: The FY 2020-21 Governor's Budget

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The Governor’s Budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 highlights plans to continue to combat homelessness, which remains a statewide concern. The budget lays out funding and delegates significant responsibility to state and local governments.

California's counties have been instrumental in providing support to those challenged by homelessness. In fiscal year 2017-18, the CalWORKs Homeless Assistance program, as administered by all 58 California counties, applied $54 million toward homelessness. The following fiscal year, 52 counties participating in Housing Support Programs (HSP) applied $71.2 million in support of housing stability with supportive services and case management. Additional programmatic efforts include Bringing Families Home to support families involved in child welfare, Housing and Disability Advocacy Program, and the Home Safe Program in Adult Protective Services.

Incorporated within the current year's homelessness plan are recommendations from the Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, formed by the Governor in 2019. This council was formed with the directive to dramatically reduce street-based homelessness, remove barriers that may be preventing access to mental health and substance abuse services for people experiencing homelessness, and to find ways to both reduce costs while increasing supportive services options.

The initial recommendations from the council are meant to inform budget and policy actions before tackling the challenge of preventing homelessness. These include developing a comprehensive response strategy between state and local governments, and creating an enforceable mandate aimed at addressing homelessness with the goal of removing barriers to emergency shelter and permanent housing.

Governor’s Executive Order

  • Established the California Access to Housing and Services (CAAHS) Fund
  • Made surplus state properties available for use as temporary shelters
  • Deployed temporary camp trailers from state fleet
  • Established a multiagency Homelessness Response Team

Governor’s 2020 21 Budget Proposals

  • Proposes $750 million General Fund deposit into CAAHS Fund
  • Proposes $695 million total funds to reform the Medi Cal system to serve populations with complex needs
  • Announces efforts to consider potential future changes related to behavioral health
  • Proposes Behavioral Health Task Force to evaluate overall systems effectiveness
  • Proposes to study root cause of homelessness
  • Identifies interest in consolidating state’s housing and homelessness programs.
  • The Governor also proposes $500 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits

The 2020-21 Budget: Spring Outlook amid COVID-19

In light of the public health emergency and economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legislative Analyst's Office released a Spring Fiscal Outlook budget report covering several possible economic scenarios. To access the report, please visit https://lao.ca.gov/reports/2020/4228/spring-outlook-2020.pdf

 

References

Petek, G., Morales, L., Barocio, J., Short, A., & Hashida, C. (2020). The 2020-21 Budget: The Governor's Homelessness Plan. Legislative Analyst's Office.

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