We know what works to end homelessness. Now we need our leaders to commit to our bold solutions, and invest in them at scale.
The Golden State has long been embodied by the California Dream: a home, a good job, and a safe place to raise a family or make your place in the world. As a result, we are the world’s fifth largest economy and are home to some of the world’s biggest companies and wealthiest people. But Californians are also familiar with the ways in which that Dream has turned into a nightmare. Over 151,000 Californias are homeless on any given night. The failure of our leaders to address this humanitarian crisis has led to untold human suffering and trauma for our unhoused neighbors.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We know what works to end homelessness, we just have to have the political courage to act. That’s why Bring California Home is proposing a fully funded, community-based strategy that would, alongside local and federal resources, reverse the cycle of homelessness in California.
Bring California Home’s plan calls for California to annually invest $2.4 billion in new funding in solutions for homelessness. This program would rely on new, dedicated revenue that would be insulated from changing political winds and budgetary uncertainties, and couldn’t be repurposed to fund other government programs.
This funding would be combined with local and federal resources and invested in the solutions we know work to end homelessness. Some funding would go to non-profit organizations to create more housing affordable for people experiencing homelessness and households with low incomes. Other funding would go to cities, counties and homeless continuums of care to invest in innovative models and housing solutions, tailored to the needs of each community. It would support previous state investments, like the successful Homekey program, by funding ongoing costs to operate these projects and fund services for people who need them.
Accountability & Transparency
Ending homelessness requires a comprehensive approach and that means holding everyone–the state, counties and cities–accountable to do their part. Our plan would require a statewide homelessness strategy and determine where gaps in the system exist. Likewise, local governments would be required to develop evidence based homelessness reduction strategies and set achievable goals for providing housing in their communities and reducing their homelessness populations.
Bring California Home’s plan is not just a blank check; local governments would be held accountable to meet these goals. If they are unable or unwilling to help solve this problem, funding would flow to community-based organizations overseen by the State that are up to the challenge.
Bring California Home’s plan is not just a blank check
This would not fund business as usual. It would ensure people with the greatest needs receive the services they need to get into housing and stay housed independently. It relies on evidence-based solutions, equity in who gets housed, transparency in who is getting results and who is getting resources. It would prevent people transitioning out of state-funded institutions from falling into homelessness, reducing the number of people languishing on our streets and cycling through another institutional setting. It would require local governments to cut through red tape and ensure that housing and services are delivered in a cost-efficient and innovative way.
How do we pay for it?
California is the 5th largest economy in the world, but not everyone is sharing equally in our prosperity. Incomes for the wealthiest families and corporate profits have grown while those of the middle class and at the bottom have stayed stagnant. In California, most of income growth has been concentrated in the top 1% of income earners since 1989.
In California, most of income growth has been concentrated in the top 1% of income earners since 1989.
Corporations have seen their state taxes cut by more than half over the past three decades. Most recently, the Trump tax cuts further cut taxes for the richest and big corporations.
COVID-19 has only made this income inequality worse. The resulting poverty, flatlining wages, and large rent increases that far exceed wage growth are major reasons so many families fall into homelessness. It’s time to level the playing field.
Bring California Home’s aggressive plan will consider closing tax loopholes on the wealthiest Californians, corporations and others to make sure that everyone is paying their fair share to end the state’s homelessness crisis.