Steinberg Institute

Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of AB 816 will save lives and help tens of thousands of homeless Californians with chronic health conditions

Posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2021

 

SACRAMENTO – Californians experiencing homelessness and living with chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness, will soon have life-saving access to housing, thanks to today’s signature on AB 816 by Governor Gavin Newsom.

The law, authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), prioritizes the state’s share of the National Housing Trust Fund to build apartments for and provide services to people living with chronic health conditions who are experiencing homelessness. In federal fiscal year 2021, California’s share was $127 million, with a higher amount expected next year.

People who are homeless have extremely poor health outcomes, dying, on average, 25-30 years younger than their housed counterparts. On any given night, over 160,000 Californians are homeless, and California has the highest rate of unsheltered homeless individuals in the nation.

The legislation was sponsored by the Steinberg Institute, City of Sacramento, Housing California, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH).

“Our homeless neighbors have longer hospital stays than housed people with the same conditions,” said Julie Snyder, Director of Government Affairs for the Steinberg Institute. “Housing and health go hand in hand, and this law will save lives because it recognizes the importance of both.”

“CSH is thrilled the Governor has signed AB 816, as a recognition that housing is a critical prescription to what ails those most impacted by chronic health conditions and homelessness,” said Sharon Rapport, Director of California State Policy for CSH. “CSH is incredibly grateful to Asm. Chiu for championing solutions to homelessness, and for once again succeeding in passing a bill that will allow potentially thousands of Californians to find their way home. We also thank Governor Newsom for his commitment to helping Californians thrive by signing this important bill and we look forward to working with the Administration in implementing it.”

“Homelessness is the biggest challenge for communities large and small across the state,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We know that AB 816 ensures that the most vulnerable unhoused populations are getting the care and housing they need. Thank you, Governor Newsom for your continued focus on finding solutions to this challenge.”

“Housing California is thrilled by Governor Newsom signing AB 816 today,” said Jack Avery, Housing California Policy Associate. “AB 816 prioritizes resources our state receives through the national Housing Trust Fund to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness. AB 816 is a meaningful step to

ensure every Californian has a safe, stable place to call home. Housing California is proud to co-sponsor AB 816 and offers our thanks to Assemblymember Chiu and Governor Newsom for their commitment to common-sense solutions that will move us down the path to solve homelessness.”

AB 816 continues the policies of AB 74 (Chiu), passed and signed into law in 2017. That bill prioritized funding from the National Housing Trust Fund to create supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness with high health costs. These provisions of the bill sunset at the end of this year. AB 816 will allow the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) the flexibility to use these funds to house other populations, while still prioritizing federal funding to create more housing for people experiencing homelessness and serving those with the greatest need.

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About the Steinberg Institute

The Steinberg Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the profile and increasing the effectiveness of mental health policy-making in California. Founded in 2015 by Sacramento Mayor and former state Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the institute upends the status quo by inspiring leadership on brain health issues and helping enact sweeping improvements in California mental health policy. Visit us at www.steinberginstitute.org.

About Housing California

Housing California’s mission is to achieve a California with homes, health, and prosperity for all. Housing California pursues this mission through three strategic directions: shaping a new narrative; building and centering the power of those with lived expertise; and advocating for evidence-based policies.

About the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)

The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) is the national champion for supportive housing, demonstrating its potential to improve the lives of very vulnerable individuals and families by helping communities create more than 385,000 real homes for people who desperately need them. CSH funding, expertise and advocacy have provided $1 billion in direct loans and grants for supportive housing across the country. Building on 30 years of success developing multiple and cross-sector partnerships, CSH engages broader systems to fully invest in solutions that drive equity, help people thrive, and harness data to generate concrete and sustainable results. By aligning affordable housing with services and other sectors, CSH helps communities move away from crisis, optimize their public resources, and ensure a better future for everyone. Visit us at www.csh.org.