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Supervisor Nathan Fletcher & Other Homeless Advisors Make Recommendations to Governor Newsom

01/13/20

Watch the full video on YouTube here.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, in his appointed role to the Governor’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors, together with the other 12 members of the Council today presented an interim set of recommendations for how to address homelessness in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom and unveiled them during a press briefing in Sacramento.    

Acknowledging in their letter to Governor Newsom that their “work was far from complete”, the Council shared the interim set of recommendations to help guide specific budget and policy actions for the beginning of the 2020 legislative session. They are: 

  • Adopt a Comprehensive Crisis Response Strategy
  • Create an Enforceable, Results-Based Accountability Mandate to End Homelessness
  • Create a Single Point of Authority for Homelessness in State Government
  • Use the Federal Waiver Process to Ensure Medi-Cal Invests in Solutions Through the CalAIM Process
  • Encourage Medi-Cal Managed Care Providers to Make Targeted Investments in Homeless Beneficiaries
  • Provide Annual Allocation to Fund HHAPP Over its Five-Year Cycle
  • Provide Augmentations to SSI, SSP, Cal-EITC, and Adult Protective Services Specifically Targeted to Those at Highest Risk of Becoming Homeless and Those Newly Homeless
  • Fund, Streamline, and Incentivize Permanent Supportive Housing and Housing for Extremely Low-Income Households (See attached letter, matrix for more details about recommendations)

“Homelessness is a humanitarian crisis,” said Nathan Fletcher, Supervisor, County of San Diego. “Mental health and substance use are some of the most pervasive barriers keeping people from addressing their homelessness and might be the single most important issue that can prevent homelessness next to addressing poverty and income inequality. 

“It’s time to act with greater urgency, increase our commitment and resources, and  build a better way to provide care, compassion and shelter to people experiencing homelessness.” 

The Council established three goals for its recommendations: 1.) dramatically reducing street homelessness; 2.) breaking down barriers keeping homeless people from accessing  mental health and substance abuse services; and 3.) finding ways to both reduce the cost and boost the supply of housing options for those experiencing homelessness. 

According to the letter, the Council’s “short-term charge did not include more fully exploring how to prevent people from becoming homeless” but said it would be a focus of their work this year.  

Statistics show that people experiencing homelessness for an extended period of time “shorten their life-span by an average of 25 years” and that for “individuals without a behavioral health condition, the trauma of experiencing homelessness can precipitate either mental illness and/or addiction.”  

The letter sent to the Governor also states, “homelessness disproportionately affects Californians of color. For example, African Americans comprise 40% of the homeless population while only 6.5% of the general population.” 

In July of 2019 Supervisor Fletcher was appointed by Governor Newsom to the Council. The other members of the Council are: 

  • Darrell Steinberg, Mayor, City of Sacramento and Co-Chair, Governor’s Council
  • Mark Ridley-Thomas, Supervisor, County of Los Angeles and Co-Chair, Governor’s Council
  • Michelle Cabrera, Executive Director, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California 
  • Anya Lawler, Policy Advocate, Western Center on Law and Poverty
  • Will Lightbourne, Former Director, Department of Social Services  
  • Philip Mangano, Former Executive Director, Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • Frank Mecca, Executive Director, County Welfare Directors Association of California
  • Sofia Pereira, Councilwoman, City of Arcata
  • V. Manuel Perez, Supervisor, County of Riverside
  • Sharon Rapport, Associate Director, Corporation for Supportive Housing 
  • Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland 
  • Esmeralda Soria, Councilwoman, City of Fresno