CSAC Bulletin Article

Assembly Approves “No Place Like Home” Budget Trailer Bill

June 30, 2016

 With a 62-4 vote of the Assembly, the No Place Like Home program (AB 1618) passed the Legislature Thursday. The measure goes next to Governor Jerry Brown , who has already endorsed the concept to leverage Proposition 63 funding for local permanent supportive housing units.

Earlier this week, the Governor signed the main budget bills for 2016-17 without exercising his line item veto authority. Senate Bill 826, is part of the $167 billion dollar budget package that provides a mix of long-term savings and one-time infrastructure spending championed by the Governor, as well as on-going commitments for youth and families sought by the Legislature. The most recent CSAC Budget Action Bulletin is available here.

The No Place Like Home bill represents a significant amount of work to ensure that all counties can access the new grants to build or refurbish permanent supportive housing for those in our communities who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless and living with a serious mental illness. CSAC supported AB 1618 and wishes to thank the members of the Assembly for their “Aye” votes today. 

CSAC, along with other county organizations, including the California Behavioral Health Directors Association, the Urban Counties of California, and the Rural County Representative of California, worked intensely with sponsor and Senate pro Tempore Kevin de León, the Department of Finance, and the California Department of Housing and Community Development to mold the proposal into one that is implementable at the county level.

AB 1618 represents the policy portion of the No Place Like Home program, while a second trailer bill outlining the actual bond financing scheme is expected in August. The No Place Like Home program would divert some Mental Health Services Act (Proposition 63) funding to finance up to $2 billion in bonds.

This bond funding is divided into a competitive “pot” ($1.8 billion) and a non-competitive “pot” ($200 million) of funding to counties. Within the competitive pot of funding, counties will be grouped into four tiers based on total population, within which they will compete for funding: Los Angeles County, Large counties with a population over 750,000, medium counties with a population between 200,000 and 750,000, and small counties with a population under 200,000. Awards in the competitive pot are not based on a counties’ homeless count, and the small county tier has access to at least 8 percent of th total funds. Further, there is the option of an “alternative process” for the counties with more than 5 percent of the statewide homeless population to access funding directly, but this option limits the amount of funding an alternative county may access to their proportionate share of the homeless count.

If money is left over in any of the tiers, it reverts back to the overall fund and will be made available to other counties. Besides the $200 million initial round as described below, AB 1618 requires four funding rounds, which will occur over at least five years.

The $200 million in initial “over the counter” funding relies on a county’s homeless count – which will be developed under the bill’s guidelines and in consultation with CSAC – and includes a $500,000 minimum award for any county that applies with an eligible project, regardless of the number of units within the proposed project

The proposal also includes up to $2 million for technical assistance to counties based on size and uses up to five percent of funds for state administrative costs. Additionally, four percent of the competitive pot is set aside for a default reserve.

For additional details on the measure and its impacts on counties, please view the CSAC Assembly Floor letter. CSAC will develop a more detailed explanation for counties and continue to work with all stakeholders on the bond portion of the proposal as well as the development of the guidelines.

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