Governor Newsom names Darrell Steinberg to lead new Statewide Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing
SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom in his State of the State address Tuesday named Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, founder of the Steinberg Institute, to lead a new Statewide Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing.
“I’m honored that Gov. Newsom has chosen me to work on this effort. Working together, we can make a demonstrable difference in an epidemic of homelessness in our state. This is California’s most pressing humanitarian, public health and economic threat,” said Mayor Steinberg, whose work with the commission will be unpaid as he continues to serve in his current elected office.
More than 130,000 people in California are estimated to be homeless, 25 percent of the nation’s homeless population. About 70 percent of those are unsheltered, and a third have mental illness.
“I know mayors, I know county supervisors, and city councils all around the state are working hard to reduce homelessness and its underlying causes. But we’ve got to have their backs. They cannot do it alone,” Newsom said. “To help lead the discussion … I’m appointing Darrell Steinberg to a new Commission on Homelessness and Supportive Housing. Thank you, Mayor Steinberg.”
Newsom in his speech noted how the huge number of people living in such desperate conditions has strained communities across the state and become a public health crisis. Even as public and private hospital emergency rooms are providing costly care for preventable conditions resulting from neglect, there has been a spate of recent outbreaks of disease among homeless populations in several different counties. The tragedy does not stop there: In Los Angeles County alone last year, more than 800 homeless people died from treatable medical conditions.
“We need to work together as a state and regions to focus on prevention, rapid rehousing, mental health and more supportive housing, because at the end of the day shelter solves sleep. Housing and supportive services solve homelessness,” said Governor Newsom, who pledged to spend $500 million quickly on navigation centers that will provide emergency shelter with onsite supportive services and another $100 million for Whole Person Care initiatives like the one that Mayor Steinberg has been pursuing in Sacramento.
Mayor Steinberg is recognized as one of California’s most accomplished public servants, particularly in the realm of homelessness and mental health. Before his election as mayor in 2016, he represented Sacramento in the Legislature from 1998-2014, serving as state Senate President for his final six years. Among his big achievements, in 2004 Mayor Steinberg co-authored the Mental Health Services Act, which now generates $2.4 billion annually for treatment and services. He was also a driving force behind Proposition 2, the successful November 2018 ballot initiative that will leverage existing state mental health funds to build $2 billion in permanent supportive housing for Californians living homeless with a serious mental illness.
At the city level, Mayor Steinberg has assertively confronted homelessness, spearheading Sacramento’s four-year, $64 million program to move thousands of people off the streets and into supportive housing. The city’s Whole Person Care initiative seeks to integrate agency efforts and provide intensive outreach linked with housing and services.
“As mayor of a major city, I’m deeply aware of the toll our homelessness crisis is taking on our police officers, our business owners and our neighborhoods; how it tears at the fabric of our community,” said Mayor Steinberg, the current chair of the California Big City Mayors Coalition. “With the Governor’s support, I am confident we can and will make a difference across our state. I’m deeply honored to be part of the solution.”
For more information: Patrick Hoge, 510-435-2320, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Steinberg Institute is a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing sound public policy and inspiring leadership on issues of brain health.