This measure would authorize $2 billion in bond funding for supportive housing for homeless Californians with mental illness, funding that would otherwise be tied up in court proceedings for an indefinite period of time. The bond funding was initially approved by the California legislature in 2016. Funding to repay the $2 billion bond measure would stem from the 1% tax increase on millionaires dedicated to treatment of mental illness, initially approved in 2014.
The bond is now held up by a legal challenge that contends that capital funding for supportive housing for homeless people with mental illness is a distinct and separate use of funding than treatment programs, and only the voters can decide to redirect funding that was initially approved via ballot measure. With this legal challenge dragging into its second year with no clear end in sight, legislators opted to place the funding on the ballot in the hopes that voters will approve the change in use.
If approved, the bond would lead to construction of supportive housing, which provides affordable homes for people transitioning out of homelessness; supportive housing is coupled with wraparound services that assists participants in retaining their housing and stabilizing their conditions. While there is strong need for mental health treatment programs statewide, it is also clear that there is not nearly enough supportive housing for people with mental illness — as of 2017, California was home to nearly 35,000 homeless people with severe mental illness.
Mental health groups are largely supportive of Prop 2, including NAMI California (which supports people with mental illness and their families), Mental Health America of California, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, and County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California.
Few mental health investments seem more prudent or pressing than stable, affordable housing with voluntary supportive services for homeless people with mental illness. Moreover, the homeless housing provided by Prop 2 would be a good complement to Prop 1, which will largely provide housing to people that are at risk but not currently lacking a roof over their heads. For these reasons, LA Forward urges a YES vote on Prop 2.
Same as Proposition 1.
Mental health groups are largely supportive, including NAMI California (which supports people with mental illness and their families), Mental Health America, California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, & County Behavioral Health Directors Association of CA.
The only organized opposition comes from the Contra Costa County chapter of NAMI.