New Law Forces Counties To Fix Homelessness

The people of California approved a ballot initiative to mandate that counties address the issue of homelessness. Proposition 1, Treatment Not Tents, would allocate $1 billion to construct adequate homes to house over 11,000 people, explicitly helping homeless veterans. The money would also help pay for additional mental health workers to aid needy people.

Counties would be obligated to allocate two-thirds of the revenue from a tax on millionaires adopted in 2004 for mental health services toward housing and other programs for those experiencing homelessness and mental health difficulties rather than increasing taxes to cover the increased spending. The proposal’s detractors argue that it would exacerbate the situation by forcing rural counties to spend the same proportion of their budgets as cities like San Francisco.

In the heavily Democratic state, the proposal took almost two weeks to pass.

After pouring resources into the campaign, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom secured a victory for Proposition 1, which modernizes the state’s mental health system for the first time in 20 years.

A bill in Florida will become effective in six months. The measure would make it illegal for local governments to permit overnight camping in parks or on sidewalks. Alternatively, counties can set aside locations where homeless people can camp out, provided these areas have access to water, sanitation facilities, and security personnel on duty at all times.

The five counties within our viewing region are now dealing with the issue of where to house the homeless individuals who are currently sleeping on parks and sidewalks, but none of them has implemented a plan. To determine funding sources and potential shelter locations, authorities from St. Lucie County will meet with nonprofits and local governments. The measure proposes allocating $30 million in state monies to the counties of Florida to provide housing for the homeless and mental health care.

Across the country, Governors are dealing with the sudden influx of people who have no homes to go to, and they have to deal with it in a way that aligns with the political winds of the states they represent.