Elected officials from Santa Ana and Anaheim joined a coalition of mayors on June 10 to endorse a proposal to put $1 billion each year toward helping the homeless.
“The city of Santa Ana is now spending about $25 million a year to address homelessness, including for shelters, housing, public health and safety, and supportive services,” spokesperson Paul Eakins told The Epoch Times. “While the city of Santa Ana is doing its part to address homelessness, the need is great to solve this countywide and statewide crisis. Any additional funding from the state would be a welcome addition to our efforts.”
To combat homelessness in Santa Ana, the city has a 200-bed shelter that’s set to be replaced by a permanent shelter currently under construction. Eakins said the city has also partnered with affordable housing developers to build permanent supportive housing projects intended to help more than 430 homeless individuals.
The mayors’ coalition is advocating for more spending from the state to combat the homeless crisis by continuing to add new supportive services. The coalition said it doesn’t believe there’s one budget resolution to successfully address and end the cycle of homelessness.
“The complexities of homelessness require us not just to say it’s going to be solved in one magical budget,” said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh during a May 10 meeting. “We are in this for the long haul. The complexity of mental health, the complexity of addiction requires that we get people into shelter, but we also must have those wraparound supportive services. That’s what we’re asking for. It’s not a one-time budget. We’re asking for ongoing flexible funding to address the crisis.”
According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office 2019 data, there are 151,000 people statewide experiencing homelessness, with 27 percent of the nation’s homeless population residing in California.
“The big city mayors’ coalition is a bipartisan coalition,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “While the parties may find a lot of things to disagree about, particularly in Congress, here as a mayor, we find what we can work on together. We are absolutely focused and committed on agreement and supporting this $1 billion a year annual allocation in flexible dollars that we can put to work immediately.”
The coalition of mayors consists of representatives from San Jose, San Diego, Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Anaheim, Bakersfield, Riverside, Santa Ana, and Stockton.
The money is intended to come from the state’s $75.7 billion budget surplus. The vote by the California State Assembly to allocate those funds is expected by July. If passed, the funds will be allocated in August or September.